On the first day of the UN meeting to consider biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction, (known as BBNJ) the European Union, G77 & China and the Pacific, Small Island and Developing States, groups were amongst those to speak strongly in favour of an Implementing Agreement under the UN Law of the Sea Convention (UNCLOS).
The High Seas Alliance (HSA) made an intervention which said that “without a new Implementing Agreement, protection for the biodiversity of the high seas is like a jigsaw puzzle with half the pieces missing. At the moment there are more gaps than pieces.”
The high seas constitute two thirds of the world’s ocean and cover nearly half the planet. Their conservation and sustainable management lag far behind that of the coastal waters of many countries.
Continuing, the HSA said: “The BBNJ must go beyond discussion and result in clear recommendations to the UN General Assembly on the basis for a decision to move to negotiations for a new Implementing Agreement under UNCLOS. It is time for a wave of change to protect marine life in the high seas.”
Throughout the day, the hash tag #waveofchange ran in support of the high seas on twitter sending messages to UN negotiators calling for action and this was referenced in the plenary session.
Not all States spoke in favour of an Implementing Agreement, however, with a distinct lack of support from the United States and some reserve by Russia and Japan.
HSA members attending the meeting include: Greenpeace, WWF, Ecology Action Centre, Pew Charitable Trusts, Sargasso Sea Alliance, IUCN and Natural Resources Defense Council, Tara Expeditions.