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On December 24, 2017, the UN General Assembly adopted by consensus Resolution 72/249, to convene an intergovernmental conference and undertake formal negotiations for a new international legally binding instrument (ILBI or treaty) under the UN Convention for the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) for the conservation and sustainable development of marine biological diversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction. Resolution 72/249, with 141 government co-sponsors, sends a resounding message of support for the need to protect this neglected half of our planet.
States from around the world will gather at the UN for a series of four two-week meetings between September 2018 and early 2020. The final treaty will be the third “implementing agreement” under UNCLOS, which entered into force in 1994.
During the negotiations, the High Seas Alliance (HSA) will be calling for:
- a strong legal process for the designation, effective management and enforcement of a network of protected areas, including marine reserves in areas beyond national jurisdiction (see HSA Recommendations on MPAs and Marine Reserves)
- specific measures to ensure that environmental impact assessments are consistent, comprehensive, accountable and rigorous (see HSA Recommendations on EIAs)
- institutional arrangements that establish a global decision-making body such as a Conference of Parties (CoP), a Scientific/Technical Committee, a Compliance Committee, a Secretariat, dispute resolution provisions, a Clearing House mechanism and a financial mechanism (see HSA Recommendations for Institutional Arrangements).