This week at the United Nations in New York, countries from around the world will convene around the subject of protecting marine diversity on the high seas. As part of the work of the ‘The Ad Hoc open-ended informal working group to study issues relating to the conservation and sustainable use of marine Biodiversity Beyond areas of National Jurisdiction.’ – a long name shortened to BBNJ – intersessional workshops are being held to bring together experts and State representatives.
The High Seas Alliance feel it is very important that countries understand both the urgency of protecting the 50% of the planet that is currently unprotected, and the path forward in doing so. Legal and scientific experts from around the world will review the need for area based management tools such as marine reserves, the need for environmental impact assessments particularly for emerging issues like deep sea bed mining.
Currently, there is no legal mechanism to ensure that the fragile areas of the high seas – those beyond the jurisdiction of any country – have protection from human activities.
Several organizations belonging to the High Seas Alliance will be in attendance, including Pew, WWF, Greenpeace, Tara Expeditions, National Resource Defence Council, IUCN and others. The High Seas Alliance will host a side event on May 5th, where both science and policy aspects of protecting the high seas will be highlighted.