“The ship has reached the shore”: 52 countries agree to monumental Treaty of the High Seas

treaty of the high seas

By 2030, no less than 30% of the world’s oceans will have protected status. Negotiations on the historic Treaty of the High Seas are complete and the EU has pledged €40 million to help smooth its implementation by developing nations.  

A meeting to button up the treaty took place at the UN headquarters in New York last week. Now agreed upon, the Treaty of the High Seas will ensure the sustainable use of marine areas that go beyond the scope of national jurisdictions.

Following the agreement, the president of the conference, Rena Lee, who is Singapore’s Ambassador for Oceans and Law of the Sea Issues and Special Envoy of the Minister for Foreign Affairs, announced, “The ship has reached the shore.” 

Her speech marked the end of nearly two decades of discussions to find solutions for this ongoing issue.  

The treaty’s coalition is a 52 country-strong group committed to pushing through solid ocean protection legislation and acts. The agreement was also helped along by the necessity to follow through on the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Agreement of December 2022 that pledged to protect no less than 30% of the ocean by 2030.  

The new treaty will work to establish marine protected areas in places that fall outside any one government’s authority, allowing for monitoring of these areas and enforcement of measures when the areas are being abused.  

The EU and other participants will now need to ratify the accord, and the EU says it intends to make haste in getting this done. The bloc also plans to help in the transitory period, assisting in preparing developing countries before implementation, and has allocated €40 million toward that end as part of the Global Ocean Programme.  

The agreement is particularly important as nearly two thirds of the world’s seas are beyond national jurisdiction and are sensitive to overexploitation, pollution, decreasing biodiversity and climate change. This treaty will make it the duty of all to protect, cooperate and preserve the marine environment for future generations.  

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Photo by Pexals on Pixabay