WHAT DOES SIGNING THE HIGH SEAS TREATY MEAN?
The Treaty is open for signature by all governments from 20 September 2023 and will remain open for two years. Signing does not bind governments to the Treaty, but it shows their willingness to proceed to ratification. Signing also creates an obligation to refrain, in good faith, from acts that would defeat the object and the purpose of the Treaty. Following signature, countries can ratify the Treaty at any time.
WHAT DOES ACCEDING TO THE HIGH SEAS TREATY MEAN?
Once the signing period is closed (i.e., after September 2025), governments can still “accede” to the Treaty. By acceding, they demonstrate the same commitment to ratifying the Treaty as they do by signing. Acceding can still take place after a Treaty has entered into force.
WHAT DOES RATIFICATION OF THE HIGH SEAS TREATY MEAN?
Ratification is when governments formally consent to a new international law, and commit to ensuring that their national laws are consistent with it. The speed and process of ratification varies by country. In some countries, ratification simply requires a Leader’s decree, while in others Parliamentary approval is needed.
The High Seas Alliance is calling on countries to fast-track ratification of the High Seas Treaty so that it comes into force by 2025.
WHAT HAPPENS ONCE THE TREATY HAS BEEN RATIFIED?
As soon as the 60th country ratifies, it will trigger a 120 day countdown, after which the High Seas Treaty will enter into force. Within a year, the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties for the Treaty will be convened by the Secretary-General of the United Nations. The Conference of the Parties will continue to meet at regular intervals to agree measures to protect High Seas life, such as High Seas marine protected areas.