What are the provisions of the High Seas Treaty?

Source: The post is based on the article “What are the provisions of the High Seas Treaty?published in The Hindu on 7th July 2023

What is the News?

The United Nations has adopted the Marine Biodiversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ) or the High Seas Treaty. 

It became the third agreement to be approved under UNCLOS, after the 1994 and 1995 treaties, which established the International Seabed Authority and the Fish Stocks agreement.

What are the objectives of the High Seas Treaty?

To implement international regulations to protect life in oceans beyond national jurisdiction through international cooperation.

To address critical issues such as the increasing sea surface temperatures, overexploitation of marine biodiversity, overfishing, coastal pollution and unsustainable practices beyond national jurisdiction.

What are the key provisions of the High Seas Treaty?

Establishing marine protected areas to protect oceans from human activities through a three-quarterly majority vote which prevents the decision from getting blocked by one or two parties. 

Fair sharing of benefits from marine genetic resources: The treaty mandates sharing of scientific information and monetary benefits through installing a “clear house” mechanism.

– Through the mechanism, information on marine protected areas, marine genetic resources and area-based management tools will be open to access for all parties.

Capacity building and marine technology: The Treaty will provide funding for capacity building and implementation to help developing countries implement the Treaty, encourage cooperation, develop marine science and technical capability, as well as promote access to technology on fair terms.

Scientific and Technical Body: The body will be creating standards and guidelines for assessment procedures, and helping countries with less capacity in carrying out assessments. 

– This will facilitate the conference of parties to trace future impacts, identify data gaps, and bring out research priorities.

Which countries opposed the treaty?

Many developed countries opposed the treaty as they stand by private entities which are at the forefront of advanced research and development in marine technology (patents relating to marine genetic resources are held by a small group of private companies). 

Russia and China were also not in favour of the treaty.Russia withdrew from the last stage of reaching a consensus arguing that the treaty does not balance conservation and sustainability.

Print Friendly and PDF