A high ambition coalition on Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ) has been launched at the One Ocean Summit in Brest, on 11th of February 2022. The coalition gathers parties which are committed, at the highest political level, to achieve an ambitious outcome of the ongoing negotiations on a Treaty of the High Seas (“the implementing agreement on Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction”), under the auspices of the United Nations.
As of 11 March: Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia*, Comoros, Costa Rica, Egypt, India, Mexico, Monaco, Morocco, Namibia, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, the Republic of the Congo, Singapore, Switzerland, Togo, the United Kingdom, the EU and its 27 Member States (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden).
*This acceptance is without prejudice to the rights and interests of Colombia as a non-party to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Areas beyond national jurisdiction comprise 95% of the ocean and provide invaluable ecological, economic, social, cultural, scientific and food-security benefits to humanity.
However, these areas teeming with life are now vulnerable to growing threats, including pollution, overexploitation, and the impacts already visible of climate change. The increasing demand for marine resources in the coming decades – for food, minerals or biotechnology – threatens to exacerbate this problem.
Faced with these challenges, and following over a decade of preparatory work, the United Nations General Assembly agreed on the development of a new international agreement on Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ). The negotiations have been staggered into four sessions, with the fourth session being currently scheduled for March 2022.
The ongoing negotiations provide a once in a generation opportunity to protect the ocean. Launched at the One Ocean Summit on 11 February 2022, the High Ambition Coalition on Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction brings together many delegations engaged in the BBNJ negotiations on a common and ambitious outcome at the highest political level.
The “BBNJ Treaty”, also known as the “Treaty of the High Seas”, is an international agreement on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction, currently under negotiation at the United Nations. This new instrument is being developed within the framework of the United Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the main international agreement governing human activities at sea. It will achieve a more holistic management of high seas activities, which should better balance the conservation and sustainable use of marine resources.
The negotiations are centered around a package of elements agreed upon by the General Assembly in 2015, namely
- the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction, in particular, together and as a whole, marine genetic resources, including questions on the sharing of benefits
- area-based management tools, including marine protected areas
- environmental impact assessments
- capacity-building and the transfer of marine technology