Progress Map

At least 60 countries must sign and ratify the High Seas Treaty for it to become international law.

As soon as that happens, the global community can ramp up international action to protect our shared ocean, mitigate climate breakdown and safeguard the lives and livelihoods of billions of people worldwide.

LATEST TREATY RATIFICATION NEWS

High Seas Alliance congratulates Palau for being the first nation to ratify the High Seas Treaty

We congratulate Palau for taking the world lead in the global Race for Ratification of the High Seas Treaty. By ratifying today, President Surangel Whipps Jr. and the Palauan Congress (OEK) have demonstrated his nation’s commitment to restoring ocean health so that it can continue to sustain billions of people worldwide and protect us from the worst impacts of climate change.

No Action: 108 Signed: 88 Ratified: 2

Note: Some of the 196 UN Member Countries are too small to be seen on the map.

List of Countries Track Progress

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

WHAT DOES SIGNING THE HIGH SEAS TREATY MEAN?

The  High Seas 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.

*The High Seas Alliance sometimes uses the term “High Seas Treaty“ as a short-hand for the BBNJ Agreement. HSA acknowledges that the scope of the BBNJ Agreement encompasses all Areas beyond national jurisdiction, including the seafloor and water column. This choice of wording is intended to ease understanding for broad audiences and does not convey a prioritization among the components or principles of the BBNJ Agreement.

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.

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