A new treaty for half the planet – the High Seas

High Seas Alliance

The High Seas Alliance (HSA) is a partnership of 50 non-governmental organisations from across the globe, whose aim since 2011, is to improve high seas ocean governance through fruition of a legally binding treaty under the United Nations.  It is through partnerships with generous funders such as the Levine Family Foundation that we are able to continue with this important work.

The high seas, comprising 64 percent of the global ocean and covering nearly half of the planet, contain some of the most biologically important, least protected and most critically threatened ecosystems in the world. These international waters face increasing impacts from fishing, shipping, pollution, as well as significant threats related to climate change and ocean acidification.

As the high seas are a global common, only a global treaty negotiated under the auspices of the United Nations can sufficiently address the inadequate, highly fragmented and poorly implemented legal and institutional framework that is currently failing to protect the high seas – and therefore the entire global ocean – from the multiple threats they face in the 21st century. In 2017, after a decade of work, UN Member States finally agreed to begin formal negotiations for a treaty to protect biodiversity within the high seas.

After four formal negotiating sessions, we are now in the conclusive stages of the treaty process with the goal  to conclude negotiations in 2022.  There are several elements of the future treaty that the High Seas Alliance is specifically focused on, including a framework for the establishment of high seas marine protected areas and operationalization of a process for the undertaking of environmental impact assessments for high seas activities that may harm marine life.

Click here to read further about the High SeasAlliance’s key policy asks for the treaty on their Resources page. If you would like more information about High Seas Alliance, please visit their website at highseasalliance.org or follow them on social media at @HighSeasAllianc

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