Race For Ratification in the starting blocks in New York! (Daily Updates)

Date: 17th September 2023

Welcome to our UNGA 78 Daily Updates blog! Stay tuned for regular coverage of our activities during the SDG Summit, 78th United Nations General Assembly and Climate Week in New York city.

Climate Week closes – What’s next? – September 22nd, 2023

As Climate Week comes to a close at the UN General Assembly, the High Seas Treaty reaches 81 signatures. Bec Hubbard explains what’s next for the High Seas Treaty and what needs to happen now as countries return home to ratify!

Signing of the High Seas Treaty continues – September 21, 2023

The High Seas Treaty opened for signing yesterday, and after two days of signing, the count has reached 75 signatures. Rebecca Hubbard explains what this means for the High Seas and why the High Seas Alliance is excited by the progress made this week.

The High Seas Treaty Opens for Signing – September 20, 2023

They say actions speak louder than words and that could not be truer than what has been happening in New York today with 68 governments signing the High Seas Treaty on the first day it was opened for signature, with many more expected to sign over the next couple of days.

This amazing momentum really sets the Treaty in good stead for swift ratification and entry into force, making us one step closer to realizing the protection that the ocean so badly needs.

This special day started early this bright morning with over 20 Heads of State and Ministers attending an event hosted by Belgium, France, Costa Rica and the European Union, NGO partners and funders to symbolically sign a commitment to work together to accelerate ratification and entry into force of the High Seas Treaty ahead of the next UN Ocean Conference in June 2025.

Joined by celebrities and activists Sigourney Weaver and Jane Fonda, as well as other important stakeholders, the energy in the room was palpable. Happiness, excitement and pride that we had all got this far. fueled further by many Ministers having to rush off after their speeches to formally sign the Treaty at the UN building.

Small island, big ocean Federated States of Micronesia were the first to sign, with a photo-bomb by one of our dear little critters, followed by a quick succession of other governments, taking the tally of signatures much higher than we had dared to wish for!

As the sun sets on this remarkable day High Seas Alliance is extremely proud to have played such a key role in the development of this new Treaty, and are so excited to be a continued trusted running partner in this #RaceForRatification.

Check out our brand new ratification tracker as the signature counter whizzes up and the world map lights up with countries that have signed, and make sure to tune in tomorrow for more government signing updates.

Toasting the Need for High Seas Action – September 19, 2023

In the impressive backdrop of the French consulate in New York, High Seas Alliance members were invited this evening by the French government to discuss, network, and highlight with high-level officials and key stakeholders the commitment to work together to secure High Seas action.

On the eve of the opening of signing of the High Seas Treaty, France’s Minister of the Seas, Hervé Berville warmly welcomed the group, outlining France’s commitment to ocean action, including “the sprint to get 60 countries to ratify by 2025”, when France will be co-hosting together with Costa Rica the 3rd UN Ocean Conference in Nice.

Participating in the event were also high-level representatives including from the UN, Costa Rica, the US, the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands and the Minister of Portugal, as well as the key star of the High Seas Treaty show- the Conference President Ambassador Rena Lee, who so expertly brought the Treaty negotiations “ship to shore” at the final conference on the 4th March 2023.

The High Seas Alliance strongly welcomes France’s commitment to high ambition for the ocean, and looks forward to working together closely with them and other high ambition countries between now and UNOC3 to ensure swift ratification and entry into force of the Treaty.

Youth Discussions – September 18, 2023

Today saw youth voices come to the forefront of High Seas Treaty discussions. EarthEcho, hosted a group of leading young voices on ocean climate policy to discuss the significance of the High Seas Treaty.

The event took place at New York Zoo, where ideas were shared to the back drop of seals, penguins and puffins. The High Seas Alliance is certain that these youth leaders will continue to bring the High Seas to the agenda as Climate Week continues.

In the evening, HSA attended the IUCN Ocean Race Summit, ‘Presenting Ocean Rights’.

Climate March – September 17, 2023

The world watched as climate marchers took over New York City on Sunday. An estimated 250,000 people, whose numbers marked a wide cross section of society, gathered to demand action for the planet. Calls came for the defunding of fossil fuels, cleaner air, the prevention of gas pipelines, and crucially, the call came to protect our ocean.

“The ocean is rising, and so are we” rang through the streets as the High Seas Alliance urged world leaders to swiftly ratify the High Seas Treaty.

Selfie frames, stickers, placards and even temporary tattoos were proudly brandished by marchers – reminding world leaders that civil society demands the swift progress of this vital treaty.

The High Seas Alliance hopes that the resounding and undeniable momentum of this climate march will remind leaders to sign the High Seas Treaty when it opens this Wednesday, and ratify it soon after, allowing it to come into force, and secure a healthy future of our ocean.

BBNJ Treaty: The Race For Ratification – September 16, 2023

It’s a big day for the High Seas Alliance (HSA)! Its our new campaign- the #RaceForRatification of the High Seas Treaty is in the starting blocks, eagerly anticipating the official opening of the  signing of the Treaty at the UN in New York on September 20.  For many of us that worked so hard and so long on the Treaty, it is still hard to believe it has finally come this far. 

But there’s still a long way to go, which is why the HSA team and its members are in New York this week to make noise and create a buzz around the need to accelerate signing and ratification of this new Treaty during key events happening in the city, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Summit, Climate Week, the Climate March, the UN General Assembly and High-Level week.

At the start of the day UN chief Guterres opened the SDG Summit with the dire news that many of the SDG Goals were going in reverse and put the challenge to all of us here to “fight for the better future every person deserves”. 

This future relies on a healthy ocean, which is why this new High Seas Treaty is essential. 

Starting off the medley of High Seas events today was a distinguished panel of high-level speakers and ocean lovers that emphasized their commitment to the Treaty and urged governments to sign and ratify the Treaty as soon as possible, so it can make the change on the water that our blue planet so urgently needs. 

From left to right:
Thomas Ramopoulos, Legal Adviser at the EU Delegation to the UN, Lela DeVine, Youth Leadership Council Member EarthEcho International, H.E. Rene Ruidiaz, Permanent Mission of Chile to the United Nations Chile, H.E. Jiwoh Abdulai, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change for Sierra Leone, Dr Grethel Aguilar, Acting Director General, IUCN, H.E. Ambassador Odo Tevi, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Vanuatu to the UN, Rebecca Hubbard, Director High Seas Alliance, Charlotte Salpin, Senior Legal Officer at the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea (DOALOS) United Nations, Minna Epps Head, IUCN Ocean Centre for Conservation Action

It is now just over 6 months since history was written for global ocean governance with the final agreement of a text for this brand-new ocean Treaty, following almost 2 decades of discussion and negotiation. For the Treaty to enter into force and become international law, at least 60 countries must ratify it, a goal that HSA and many others are urging governments to secure ahead of the next United Nations Ocean Conference in France in 2025. 

We know the process of ratification for countries is not always simple and can take time for national laws to be put in place and harmonized, which is why it is critical that countries sign up to the Treaty here in NYC to express their political will and commitment to High Seas action. 

Today we were in the meeting rooms of the UN, tomorrow we will take to the streets marching for the climate and the ocean. Stay tuned for more updates on our exciting High Seas week!

The #RaceForRatification is on! 

Event attendees using the High Seas Treaty selfie frame.

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