Treaty Q&A

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.

Once it becomes law, the new High Seas Treaty can be used to address many of the governance gaps that have plagued the ocean by setting out clearer ways to conserve biodiversity in the High Seas. For example, it will enable the international community to conduct consistent environmental impact assessments (EIAs) of activities that could harm marine life and establish the first High Seas marine protected areas (MPAs). Below is an overview of some of the key questions and answers regarding the Treaty and the process for its entry into force

Download an overview of some of the key questions and answers regarding this new High Seas Treaty. Available in English I French I Spanish


High Seas Treaty Briefing

March 9, 2023