Thursday, July 25, 2024

UN Adopts Oceans Biodiversity Resolution


The United Nations General Assembly recently adopted a resolution centering around ocean biodiversity.

Singapore’s representative introduced the resolution, titled “Agreement under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Biological Diversity of Areas beyond National Jurisdiction,” according to a UN summary of the debate:

“The draft resolution is essentially procedural, he recalled, pertaining to eventual operationalization and implementation of the Agreement adopted at the Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction Intergovernmental Conference — the culmination of nearly two decades of work — and ‘commended and widely celebrated by members of the international community’ as a major milestone in ocean governance. Calling on all Member States to support it as it has been tabled, he stressed that his delegation would vote in favor and against all proposed amendments in document A/77/L.83 as they seek to delete important elements and are at odds with what the resolution seeks to achieve.”

Before the vote on that text, though, Russia’s representative introduced an amendment that proposed to eliminate certain paragraphs, according to the UN:

“He said that despite viewing the Agreement as ‘totally unacceptable,’ and distancing itself from consensus in the adoption of the resolution, his delegation had shown unprecedented flexibility. While being presented as a purely technical text, the draft contained numerous elements of a political nature, considering supplementing the agenda item “oceans and the law of the sea” by a sub-item on this new Agreement, which was “completely unacceptable.” The amendment, he stressed, has only one purpose: to exclude from the draft the aforementioned politicized elements and return it to a mainly technical domain.”

After debate, the UN subsequently rejected the Russian amendment by a 119-4 vote with 24 abstentions, and after that approved the resolution by a 150-2 vote.

Read the full UN summary here.

John Liang
John Liang
John Liang is the News Editor at He first got the diving bug while in High School in Cairo, Egypt, where he earned his PADI Open Water Diver certification in the Red Sea off the Sinai Peninsula. Since then, John has dived in a volcanic lake in Guatemala, among white-tipped sharks off the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, and other places including a pool in Las Vegas helping to break the world record for the largest underwater press conference.