Nations secure U.N. global high seas biodiversity pact

Source: The post is based on the article “Nations secure U.N. global high seas biodiversity pact” published in The Hindu on 6th March 2023.

What is the News?

For the first time, United Nations members have agreed on a unified treaty to protect biodiversity on the high seas. The last international agreement on ocean protection was signed 40 years ago in 1982 – the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

What are High Seas?

The high seas begin at the border of countries’ exclusive economic zones, which extend up to 370 km (200 nautical miles) from coastlines. Beyond that point, the seas are under the jurisdiction of no country.

Even though the high seas comprise more than 60 percent of the world’s oceans and nearly half the planet’s surface, they have long-drawn far less attention than coastal waters and a few iconic species.

Only about 1 percent of the high seas are currently protected.

What is the need for the Treaty on High Seas?

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What are the key provisions of the Treaty on the High Sea?

The treaty is legally binding. It aims to place 30% of the seas into protected areas by 2030, to safeguard and recuperate marine nature. It is a legally binding treaty.

Key Provisions of the treaty

New body: The treaty will create a new body to manage the conservation of ocean life and establish marine protected areas on the high seas.

The treaty includes various aspects of marine conservation such as 1) establishing marine protected areas to put limits on certain activities, 2) establishment of ground rules for Environmental impact assessments (EIA) or clearances for the sustainability of works, 3) financial support to countries and 4) sharing other scientific knowledge.

Rights of companies engaged in exploration activities on the high seas: A key aspect of the treaty is deciding on the rights of companies that undertake exploration for biological resources on the high seas.

Significance of the treaty: The treaty is crucial for enforcing the 30×30 pledge made by countries at the UN biodiversity conference in December, to protect a third of the sea (and land) by 2030. 

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