The last day of the 2016 preparatory meeting for a new marine biodiversity treaty concludes at United Nations Headquarters in New York today.
There are now only two more scheduled meetings in 2017 before the end of 2017 deadline set by UN Resolution 69/292 by which time the parties have to agree on a recommendation whether to convene, or not, a formal intergovernmental conference – effectively full negotiations to establish a new treaty protecting the biodiversity of the high seas.
The meeting was the second held this year and ran for over two weeks. It grappled with the more detailed elements of a possible Treaty. While there was convergence around some of these elements, there remains many areas where further discussion and agreement are needed. An informal working group on cross cutting issues is addressing some of these more challenging areas.
If successful, the UN could convene a full intergovernmental conference to establish a high seas marine biodiversity treaty as early as 2018.
The High Seas Alliance had numerous representatives from member organisations present at the UN to advocate for strong conservation measures and remains optimistic about the commitment of many States to achieve a robust new treaty.
The date for the next preparatory meeting (PrepCom) has not been set but will likely take place in early 2017.