The first ever treaty to protect marine life biodiversity on the high seas was adopted on Monday, 19th June, by the UN. 193 delegates held a standing ovation as the treaty was approved with no objections. The agreement comes after 20 years of failed attempts.
The treaty is aimed to protect biodiversity in waters outside of any national borders, known as the ‘high seas’. Covering nearly half of the planet’s surface, the high seas may have up to 10 million different species, many still undiscovered by humans. This new treaty will help to establish a governing body that will preside over ocean conservation and establish protected areas for marine life within international waters. Additionally, the treaty will set foundations for conducting environmental impact assessments for commercial activities in the ocean.
The Renewable Energy Institute has worked with the United Nations Environment Programme in the past to help foster a co-operative environment to bring renewable energy awareness to the centre stage. Both the REI and UN recognise the huge importance of protecting the world’s diverse ecosystems. Our Expert Certificate Pathways pass on the knowledge gained across years of research, conferences, and collaborative work with organisations like the UN. We ensure that all businesses and professionals have the most informative and applicable knowledge needed to implement a successful changeover to renewable energy from fossil fuels.
Antonio Guterres, secretary general for the UN, spoke to delegates regarding the treaty and said it “comes at a critical time, with the oceans under threat on many fronts.” He goes on to add, “climate change is disrupting weather patterns and ocean currents, raising sea temperatures, and altering marine ecosystems and the species living there.” He also claimed that marine life biodiversity is “under attack from overfishing, over-exploitation and ocean acidification.”
Guterres continues, stating that “Over one-third of fish stocks are being harvested at unsustainable levels,” he adds, “and we are polluting our coastal waters with chemicals, plastics and human waste.” Guterres stresses the importance of the treaty, urging all countries to “spare no efforts to ensure that it is signed and ratified as soon as possible…this is critical to addressing the threats facing the ocean.”
This new treaty is held under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which was established in 1994. This was before marine life biodiversity was a recognised and supported as a concept. This treaty shines the light on the fact that many people are now only just realising the true impact of climate change on the entire world. It will be open for signatures on September 20th, 2023, during the annual General Assembly. It only requires ratification from 60 countries to take effect.