High Seas Alliance: Key Recommendations for IGC3 on President’s Text

The High Seas Alliance welcomes the release of draft text of an agreement under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (“Draft Text”)(1), and congratulates the President of the Intergovernmental Conference, Ambassador Rena Lee, on this achievement.

For the first time, the third session of the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC3) taking place from August 19-30, 2019, will provide an opportunity for governments to negotiate legal text toward the development of a new legally binding instrument (Agreement) under UNCLOS for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ). With only two negotiating sessions remaining, this briefing sets out some key issues for the High Seas Alliance with respect to the Draft Text.

After 15 years of discussions, it is clear that our ocean – indeed our very planet – is at a crossroads. The Global Biodiversity Assessment Report (2) recently demonstrated unprecedented biodiversity loss and species extinction across all sectors of the globe, and stressed that “transformative change is needed.” This cautionary report reminds us that we have the responsibility to ensure that our ocean is not irreversibly damaged by human activity. Loss of biodiversity is not only an environmental issue, but also a developmental, economic, food security, social and cultural issue as well. For the high seas, this is our moment for transformative change.