Members of the UN will meet on Monday in New York to resume attempts to create the elusive and long-awaited treaty to protect marine biodiversity worldwide.
In the high seas, which comprise about two-thirds of the ocean, scattered and unevenly enforced regulations aim to reduce human impact.
The U.N.’s mission During the sessions, which will continue through March 3, the goal is to come to a consensus on how to conserve and sustainably exploit those enormous marine ecosystems.
The negotiations, formally known as the International Conference on Marine Biodiversity of Regions Outside National Jurisdiction, were put on hold last fall since no agreement could be reached on a binding contract.
According to marine researcher Boris Worm of Dalhousie University in Canada, the ocean is the planet’s life support system.
“We didn’t feel like we had much of an impact on the high seas for the most extended period. Yet, he claimed that the growth of deep sea fishing, mining, plastic pollution, climate change, and other human disruptions had altered that belief.
The U.N. Key issues will be discussed, such as who should define the limits of marine protected zones and how.
How should institutions evaluate how commercial operations like mining and shipping affect the environment? And who has the authority to impose laws?
Nichola Clark, an oceans specialist who monitors the negotiations for the nonpartisan Pew Research Center in Washington, D.C., said, “This is our largest global commons.” “We are hopeful that this upcoming round of talks will be the one to bring a treaty to a successful conclusion.”
Instead of designating marine protected zones, the talks’ goal is to create a system for doing so.
According to Clark, the objective is to establish a new organization that will accept applications for certain maritime protected zones.
According to marine researcher Simon Ingram of the University of Plymouth in England, a deal is critical.
It’s an urgent time for this, according to Ingram, especially with deep-sea mining that could harm biodiversity before we can survey and understand what life there is.
According to experts, a worldwide oceans pact is required to implement the U.N. latest vow from the Biodiversity Conference to save 30% of the world’s oceans and land.
Jessica Battle, a World Wide Fund for Nature expert on ocean governance, says, “We need a legally enforceable framework that can enable governments to work together to achieve these agreed targets.”
According to Monica Medina, Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Science Affairs, the deal is a top priority for the United States. For the first time, she said, “this agreement aspires to build a coordinated strategy to establishing marine protected zones on the high seas.”
“It’s time to complete the project.”
The negotiations are keenly watched by officials, environmentalists, and representatives of international sectors that depend on the sea.
Small Pacific and Caribbean island nations, according to Gemma Nelson, a Samoan lawyer who is currently an Ocean Voices fellow at the University of Edinburgh, are “especially vulnerable to global ocean issues,” such as pollution and climate change, which they typically did not cause and do not have the resources to address quickly.
She added that it is crucial to “have the traditional knowledge of local people and communities recognized as authentic” to safeguard ecosystems and Indigenous peoples’ way of existence.
According to Gladys Martnez de Lemos, executive director of the nonprofit Interamerican Alliance for Environmental Defense, which focuses on environmental concerns throughout Latin America, the negotiations are highly significant because high seas encompass over half of the surface of the world.
She argued that the agreement needed to be robust and ambitious to create fully protected zones on the high seas. “In the UN these weeks, half of the planet is on the line.”