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‘Historic’ high seas pact adopted by the UN

By 06/19/2023 11:19 PMNo CommentsBy YidInfo Staff


The United Nations on Monday approved the first worldwide pact to protect the high seas, establishing a historic environmental agreement to save distant habitats that are essential to mankind.

The deal that would provide a legal framework to extend broad environmental safeguards to international waterways, which make up more than 60% of the world’s oceans, was hailed as a “historic achievement” by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

“The ocean is the lifeblood of our planet, and today you have pumped new life into it and hope to give the ocean a fighting chance,” he told delegates.

After a flurry of protracted debates in March, the UN member states eventually came to an agreement on the treaty’s text after more than 15 years of discussions, including four years of official negotiations.

The wording has been frozen since, and the UN’s attorneys and translators have gone through it to make sure it is accurate in all six of the organization’s official languages.

“Countries must now ratify it as quickly as possible to bring it into force so that we can protect our ocean, build our resilience to climate change, and safeguard the lives and livelihoods of billions of people,” said Rebecca Hubbard of the High Seas Alliance.

Scientists are becoming more and more aware of the significance of oceans, which provide the majority of the oxygen we breathe, prevent climate change by absorbing CO2, and support diverse ecosystems, sometimes on a tiny scale.

The so-called “high seas” need to be protected, but this requires international collaboration because so much of the world’s oceans are outside of individual nations’ exclusive economic zones and, thus, outside of the authority of any one state.

As a result, they have been largely disregarded in many environmental conflicts, while attention has been focused on coastal regions and a few iconic species.

The capacity to establish protected marine zones in international waters will be a crucial element of the pact.

Only around 1% of the high seas are now covered by any kind of conservation measure.

According to a second historic agreement signed by global leaders in Montreal in December, the pact is viewed as essential to countries conserving 30% of the world’s seas and lands by 2030.

Herve Berville, the French Secretary of State for the Sea, stated that by doing this, “We are giving ourselves the means to achieve” the 30 percent goal.


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