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Formal negotiations on UN high seas biodiversity pact get underway September 20,2018   |  Source: Bridges

On Monday 17 September, UN negotiators concluded a first session of talks towards the establishment of a global treaty to protect marine biodiversity in the high seas, setting in motion a two-year process which, proponents say, could resolve long-standing gaps in international environmental governance.

The formal body responsible for the negotiations, an intergovernmental conference (IGC) under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), was tasked by the UN General Assembly in December 2017 with developing an international, legally binding instrument on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ).

The proposed UN agreement will aim at realising this objective by establishing global rules on various topics, including the creation of marine protected areas, the use of genetic marine resources, the assessment of environmental impacts, and capacity building and marine technology transfer.

In opening this first session of the IGC, the conference’s President, Ambassador Rena Lee of Singapore, insisted on the urgent need to change the way marine resources and biodiversity are governed globally. She said that the conference constitutes an opportunity to “make a difference on how we manage the oceans while


© International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development

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