Protecting the Ocean We Need - Securing the Future We Want


By: Thembile Joyini

As African States, we are fully cognisant of the contribution of oceans and seas to our development. In this regard, the far-reaching positive implications as well as the benefits of the BBNJ process will be understood and appreciated even more, now that we are standing at a juncture where ocean-based economic development is at the top of the agenda for many Governments.

By: Magnus Eckeskog

Last Friday, US President Obama announced the creation of the world’s largest ocean sanctuary, and today governments from all over the world are meeting at the United Nations in New York to develop a new treaty to save our oceans. This is fantastic news for our blue planet. Two-thirds of the ocean sit outside national borders, called the ‘high seas’. In this area there is a lack of rules governing how it is protected, and as a result our oceans are suffering. Luckily, our governments are now about to change this situation meaning we could be on the verge of a massive step towards reviving our oceans.

By Karen Sack

Protecting the heath of the high seas is, literally, the biggest global challenge many people have never heard of. It’s therefore no surprise that hardly anyone realises that discussions taking place at the UN over the next two weeks will impact the future of the high seas, the entire global ocean, and therefore the planet. Because whether you live in a first world city by the sea, a land-locked country in the middle of Africa, a small island in the Pacific, or anywhere in between, these discussions affect you.

By Lisa Speer

Late last year, nearly 200 nations came together in Paris to reach a critical global climate agreement. The Paris climate agreement demonstrated that the international community can come together and successfully tackle a grave environmental problem of global scope. 

After two weeks of negotiations on a new marine biodiversity agreement, the first UN PrepCom has concluded on a very positive note.  These negotiations are the first of four PrepCom sessions (each two weeks long) through the end of 2017, which will hopefully lead to a formal intergovernmental treaty conference in 2018.

Delegates, ocean advocates and defenders of the high seas gathered for a reception hosted by the High Seas Alliance, IUCN and the Bertarelli Foundation April 4th  at UN Headquarters in New York City.

During the PrepCom meeting taking place at UN Headquarters from March 28-April 8, the High Seas Alliance held a side event for government representatives entitled “Governance Principles, EIAs, and Operationalization in the New Instrument.” 

The High Seas Alliance and member organizations delivered interventions during the second day of PrepCom negotiations.

From March 28 through April 8, world governments will gather at United Nations headquarters in New York City to develop elements of a new marine biodiversity treaty for the high seas and ocean areas beyond national borders.  The PrepCom meeting is the first of four over the next two years, toward the recommendation of a formal intergovernmental conference in 2018.  

Watch this space for updates from our HSA team at the PrepCom and follow us on twitter:  @highseasallianc  #ThisWay2Treaty

States gathering at the United Nations (UN) in New York next week (28 March) will begin work towards an agreement to protect life in the high seas, closing some of the largest legal loopholes in the ocean.

Despite being the largest biosphere on Earth and a central component of the climate system, the ocean has not featured in previous UNFCCC COP meetings and has been largely ignored within the process. In an effort to the bring the ocean and its significance into climate discussions – both as a climate regulator and the impacts felt from global warming -- the High Seas Alliance helped to support a team of advocates and communicators at the Paris COP21.

The first Global Marine Protected Areas Partner Summit was held in Redlands, California November 2-3. The meeting was convened by Marine Conservation Institute (a High Seas Alliance member organization) and hosted by Esri, the world’s leading vendor of geographic information systems, to bring together marine conservation organizations and prominent scientists, including Dr. Sylvia Earle, to explore opportunities for collaboration and new tools for enhancing marine protected area efforts around the world.

Home to extraordinary biological diversity, the ocean is also the world’s largest active carbon sink. Blue carbon refers to carbon associated with the ocean. Blue carbon encompasses carbon capture by plankton, algae and bacteria; capture and long-term storage by complex plants and their ecosystems in coastal regions; and carbon pathways, pumps and trophic cascades associated with larger marine animals.

The Second Our Ocean Conference took place from 5-6 October 2015 in Valparaíso, Chile. The Conference was a follow up to the first Our Ocean conference initiated by the United State’s State Department in 2014.  The conference covered several thematic areas including marine protected areas (MPAs), ocean acidification, marine pollution, and sustainable fisheries. 


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