Delegates Begin Text-Based Deliberations for First-Ever Treaty on Managing Marine Biodiversity beyond National Jurisdiction Areas, at Start of Conference Session.

The process of drafting the first-ever treaty addressing marine biodiversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction entered a new phase today as Member States began text-based deliberations, with a view to reaching an agreement by the first half of 2020.

“I’m confident that our common interest in providing future generations with a healthy, resilient and productive ocean will continue to guide delegations in their negotiations,” said Miguel de Serpa Soares, Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs, in his remarks to the opening of the third session of the Intergovernmental Conference on an international legally binding instrument 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.

Citing the 2019 Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, he warned that across most of the globe, nature has been significantly altered by multiple human drivers, with the vast majority of indicators of ecosystems and biodiversity showing rapid decline.

The report further notes that 66 per cent of the ocean area is experiencing increasing cumulative human impacts, primarily from climate change stressors, including sea surface temperature anomalies, ocean acidification and ultraviolet radiation, he said, adding, however, that the report also states that sustaining and conserving marine species and ecosystem can be achieved through a coordinated mix of interventions. “Thus, this Conference can, and it is my hope that it will, play an important role in turning the tide against this rapid decline,” stressed Mr. Soares, who serves as Secretary-General of the Conference.

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