By: Sophie Mirgaux
There is currently no legal mechanism for creating Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) on the high seas. A proposed agreement by the UN looks to rectify that, writes Sophie Mirgaux.
Sophie Mirgaux is senior international negotiator in the department for the marine environment at Belgium’s Ministry of Environment.In our era of fast-paced news and political intrigue it can be easy to overlook the bigger picture, the things that really matter for our planet and our future. And there is no bigger picture than the ocean and the high seas in particular, that belongs to no one and everyone. These vast waters cover half the Earth, sustain us all, and yet we neglect and exploit them.
As many countries turn inward, it is more important than ever to tackle critical challenges that are beyond the reach of any single state and which compel us to work together.
Belgium is an ardent proponent of regional and global collaboration and firmly committed to strengthening multilateral cooperation to preserve and restore the health of our ocean. This year promises many opportunities to pursue this goal.
Earlier this month, delegations gathered at the UN for the penultimate, preparatory meeting for the negotiation of a new, legally binding international agreement on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (known as BBNJ).
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