UNFCCC COP28 and the Global Stocktake are critical moments to boost ocean-climate ambition for the High Seas, and to chart a better course for our ocean, our climate and our future.
On 19 June 2023, the international community adopted the Agreement under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ Agreement, also known as the High Seas Treaty). The Agreement opened for State signature on 20 September 2023 and will remain open for signature for two years. It will enter into force 120 days after 60 State ratifications. Until then, signatories are obliged to refrain from acts which would defeat the object and purpose of the Agreement.
The Agreement under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ Agreement) will enter into force 120 days after it has been ratified by 60 UN member States. Prior to its entry into force, a country or a regional economic integration organization may provide its consent to provisionally apply (“provisional application”) the provisions of the Agreement.
Preparatory Commissions (PrepComs) are often established after an international Agreement has been signed to prepare for its entry into force.
During the BBNJ IGC-5 resumed session in March 2023, the High Seas Treaty Agreement was finalized but not adopted, pending a review to ensure uniform usage of terminology and translation to the six official UN languages.
A momentous milestone for the ocean and global biodiversity
On 4 March 2023, after 5 years of negotiations, the world reached a significant milestone for the global ocean and efforts to stem global biodiversity decline when nations agreed a new High Seas Treaty to protect ocean life. Once it has been ratified by at least 60 countries, the new Treaty will provide the legal framework to address many of the governance gaps that have plagued the ocean and provide a roadmap to conserve biodiversity areas that lie beyond national jurisdiction.
A shorter version of the Treaty factsheet for use by members, produced in black and white for ease of printing, is also available to download HERE.
On 4 March 2023, after almost two decades of discussion, including five years of negotiations, the world’s governments finalized the text of a new United Nations (UN) Treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ), under the UN Law of the Sea Convention (UNCLOS). After the text was legally “scrubbed” and translated into the six official UN languages, the final Treaty text was formally adopted by Member States at the UN on 19 June 2023.
For the Treaty to become international law, it must be signed and ratified by at least 60 countries. The 60th country to ratify will trigger a 120-day countdown, after which the Treaty will enter into force.
Discover a few of the incredible biodiversity hotspots in the high seas that deserve priority protection and could become the first generation of high seas MPAs under a new UN High Seas Treaty.
The Lost City – English
Sargasso Sea – English
South Tasman Sea / Lord How Rise – English
Walvis Ridge – English
Emperor Seamounts – English