High Hopes for the High Seas: beyond the package deal towards an ambitious treaty


Cognisant of the growing threats to biodiversity in marine areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ), States at the United Nations are negotiating a treaty to ensure the conservation and sustainable use of this vast global commons. These negotiations provide a unique and timely opportunity to strengthen the management regime for the global ocean, building on the vision of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The treaty will cover a ‘package deal’ of issues: marine genetic resources (MGRs); area-based manage- ment tools (ABMTs), including marine protected areas (MPAs); environmental impact assessments (EIAs); and capacity building and technology transfer. In order to be effective, ambitious provisions are needed on each of these elements, including by addressing climate change and ensuring the protection of marine ecosystems. A fair and equitable treaty could further support conservation and sustainable use by strengthening existing management frameworks and providing global oversight, developing capacity, and placing science at the heart of decision making. N°