highseasalliance.org

Protecting the Ocean We Need - Securing the Future We Want

The High Seas Alliance (HSA), with its 32 non-government members, as well as the IUCN, has been working towards protecting approximately 50% of the planet that is the high seas, since its founding in 2011. As the region of the global ocean that is beyond national jurisdiction, the high seas includes some of the most biologically important, least protected, and most critically threatened ecosystems in the world.

HSA members work together to inspire, inform and engage the public, decision-makers and experts to support and strengthen high seas governance and conservation, as well as to cooperate toward the establishment of high seas protected areas.  As such, our current priority is a new international legally binding treaty under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea that will protect biological diversity in the high seas and seabed.

Currently, there is no legal mechanism with which to establish marine protected areas outside of States’ territorial seas, nor a mechanism to undertake environmental impact assessments. At the same time, increasing impacts from human activity, through overfishing, deep-seabed mining and shipping, as well as climate change, continue to negatively affect biodiversity on the high seas. HSA is working to ensure that current United Nations discussions around the new treaty result in recommendations for robust and effective conservation measures that address gaps in current ocean governance.

Source: The New York Times
Author: JUSTIN GILLIS

SCOTT BASE, Antarctica — A group of hikers in red parkas approached a half-dozen seals resting on floating sea ice. The leader of the entourage — Secretary of State John Kerry — raised his arms and ordered everyone to halt.

As an ethereal silence descended, Mr. Kerry cocked his head in the stillness of one of the world’s last truly wild places.

In that moment, the frozen landscape seemed timeless, but it is actually in grave peril, as Mr. Kerry had been told by scientists only minutes before. The ice across large parts of West Antarctica may be starting to disintegrate because of global warming, and if it goes, the world’s coastal cities face destruction, too.

Gudni Th. Johannesson, the newly elected President of Iceland has said that “We need to defend the ecosystems of the world ocean, stop pollution, warming and ocean acidification as well as excessive fisheries beyond national jurisdiction” in an address to a meeting organized by the Iceland Nature Conservation Association (INCA) and the High Seas Alliance.

The last day of the 2016 preparatory meeting for a new marine biodiversity treaty concludes at United Nations Headquarters in New York today.