UN General Assembly Adopts Resolution to Develop New Marine Biodiversity Treaty on high seas

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Credits:The Pew Charitable Trusts

The World Ocean Council credits the UN’s new “biodiversity treaty” that was passed on 19th June 2015, as first of its kind in the past two decades.  The resolution aims to protect marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction in high seas.

The oceans house 100 million species of life forms, many of which are still being discovered.  This vast biodiversity found in the high seas are prone to dangers of extinction.  Nature of relentless human activities cause harm and pollute oceans.

The proposed legally binding treaty would address conservation of biodiversity in global waters that fall beyond national jurisdiction or in those areas of the ocean shared by all.  The treaty proposes to earmark  areas as “marine parks or protected reserves” and include conservation measures like the usage of area-based management tools to measure environmental impacts to define and implement control of access to marine genetic resources, capacity building, transfer of marine technology and benefit sharing .

A series of meetings since 2006  led to the recommendations made by the UN Working Group in January 2014, following which this resolution was passed.  The group also studied the feasibility of a new treaty  and is convening an intergovernmental conference to negotiate the final terms of the new treaty, by year 2018.  The resolution also allows for a two-year preparatory period before finalizing.

High Seas Alliance members welcome the new resolution and look up to its impacts as a “wave of change” in the way our oceans will be governed in the future.

 

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