New UN High Seas Treaty: a Triumph for Multilateralism


Under the UN Convention on the Law Of the Seas (UNCLOS), and for decades, the High Seas have been considered international waters, and therefore noone’s waters. They have been over-exploited, polluted, and used as the world’s rubbish dump.  But these international waters are crucially important for the preservation of marine biodiversity into the future, and for tackling the global warming crisis.    This is something on which we have been campaigning for years, alongside different stakeholders; UNA Climate and Oceans highlighted this need at The Ocean Symposium 2021.

The Fifth Session of the UN Intergovernmental Conference on Marine Biodiversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction  (New York, 20 February – 3 March 2023) reached a crucial legally binding agreement,  The High Seas Treaty.  The agreement reached by the delegates of the Intergovernmental Conference, is the culmination of UN-facilitated talks that began in 2004. The High Seas Treaty will ensure that 30% of the planet’s Oceans will become Marine Protected Areas. It will also place new regulations for mining at sea. This is hugely important.

There is further information from the BBC and from The Guardian.

While the Oceans Treaty gives us hope for the future of this damaged planet, the next steps are crucial: UN Member States must ratify the new Treaty for it fully to come into effect. LASER members are urged to write to their MPs to persuade the UK government to ratify this treaty.

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