While the High Seas Treaty completed this past weekend was a landmark deal in protecting the world’s oceans, getting it ratified is the next step.
Rena Lee of Singapore, the Intergovernmental Conference president, announced at UN Headquarters:
The Conference last Saturday had finished the text of the agreement on marine biodiversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction.
Sea Save Foundation Director Georgienne Bradley applauded the new pact:
“The agreement is a historic one for conservation and a sign that protecting nature and people can triumph over geopolitics.”
The new treaty aims to place 30% of the seas into protected areas by 2030 to safeguard and recuperate ocean flora and fauna. It will establish new marine protected areas, which will put limits on how much fishing can take place, the routes of shipping lanes, and exploration activities like deep sea mining.
One of the main issues during negotiations was the sharing of marine genetic resources. Richer nations currently have the resources and funding to explore the deep ocean, but poorer nations wanted to ensure any benefits they find are shared equally. However, the challenge is that no one knows how much ocean resources are worth and therefore how they could be split.
The second challenge will be to get this new agreement ratified. Countries will need to meet again to formally adopt the treaty. If it is ratified, there will be plenty of work to do before the agreement can be implemented, and it will take some time to take effect.