New York, 20th February 2023: Today governments resume negotiations at the United Nations in New York to finalize a new High Seas Treaty to ensure the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction. The two-week Intergovernmental conference is taking place from 20 February to 3 March 2023 and is a resumption of negotiations from August 2022, when governments ran out of time.
In 2017, the UN convened a series of Intergovernmental Conferences (IGCs) to create an international legally binding Treaty for the High Seas (Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction). Since then five IGCs have failed to secure this crucial Treaty. Before we move into IGC5bis (the resumption of IGC5), here is a brief timeline of the negotiations so far, as reported by China Dialogue Oceans.
21 years since this issue was first discussed at the UN at the Informal Consultative Process meeting in 2002.
1 whole new generation “Z” has been born.
1,700,000,000 extra people on the planet.
5 years since the UN agreed a resolution to start negotiating a treaty.
23rd January 2023: High Seas Alliance welcomes the announcement just made by the United States of America that they have joined the High Ambition Coalition for Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ).
Ocean groups reacted with relief to the announcement from CBD COP15 that states have committed to a target of 30% protection by 2030 (30×30) of land and sea as part of the new Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) that was just adopted in Montreal.
Montreal, 17th December 2022, Today, Ministers meeting in the sidelines of CBD COP15, one of the most critical conferences for biodiversity this century, recognized the importance of working together to secure the finalization of an ambitious new treaty to safeguard marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ), commonly known, as the High Seas. Ministers and high-level officials from Australia, Canada, European Commission, France, Germany, Palau, Sweden, United Kingdom, and the USA attended the meeting, together with members from civil society and Indigenous peoples and local communties.
Brest, France: The High Seas Alliance strongly welcomed the news this morning of a high-level commitment by 14 Heads of State, and all 27 members of the European Union, to achieve a strong and robust UN Treaty to protect the biodiversity of the High Seas in 2022.
Author: Hannah Rudd
Another year, another meeting of world leaders to discuss the most pressing problem ever to face our global community. After a brief hiatus in 2020, the world came together in Glasgow, UK, in November 2021 to identify long-overdue solutions to the climate crisis. And yet, whilst it is now thankfully firmly rooted within climate negotiations, there was relatively little mention of the importance of ocean recovery in the bid to reverse climate catastrophe through resilience. Great strides were made for the world’s green lungs with the landmark Glasgow COP26 Declaration on Forest and Land Use, but what about its blue lungs?
Authors: Catarina Lorenzo & Lydia Rysavy
Right now, politicians from around the world are wrapping up their meetings in Glasgow to discuss climate action at COP26. All of their decisions – or lack thereof – will determine almost every aspect of our lives and those of generations to come. Climate may be at the centre of the conversation, but we cannot forget about the ocean.
Authors: Lydia Rysavy (Sweden), John Paul Jose (India), Milla Heckler (United States), Jihyun Lee (South Korea), Fabio Alfaro (Mexico), Catarina Lorenzo (Brazil), Olivia Livingstone (Liberia)
Whether you know them as the High Seas, international waters, or the Latin mare liberum, the bodies of water that lie beyond national jurisdiction are key to ensuring the survival of our planet and the human race.