UN High Seas Treaty Reached
On the heels of last year's historic climate and biodiversity conservation agreements--multinational agreements to slow the climate's warming and protect the Earth's biodiversity--comes last week's agreement to rescue the Earth's oceans from further degradation. Reached by delegates of the Intergovernmental Conference on Marine Biodiversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction, better known by its acronym BBNJ, this agreement is the culmination of UN-
facilitated talks that began in 2004.
Vital to supporting the 30x30 biodiversity framework , it will help safeguard the high seas lying beyond national boundaries that make up two-thirds of Earth's ocean surface. Although the treaty will not automatically establish any new marine protection areas, it creates a mechanism for nations to begin designating such protected areas and enforcing pledges agreed to at last year's UN biodiversity summit, COP15, where delegates of nearly 200 nations pledged to protect and retore nearly a third of Earth's land and oceans by 2030 as a refuge for the planet's remaining wild plants and animals.
Now comes the hard part--implementing those commitments. But hey, this international recognition of the necessity of rescuing the planet's natural environments and life is cause for celebration.