High Seas Treaty more crucial than ever at closing of UN Ocean Conference
One of the major issues arising from the Ocean Conference is the need for a treaty to protect the high seas covering half the planet. The momentum exists because States are returning to the UN next month for their final scheduled Preparatory Meeting, determining whether or not to open up formal negotiations through an Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) in 2018. The High Seas Alliance will be working at the PrepCom to try to ensure this happens.
Many states have referenced the importance of high seas protection through a treaty in their opening statements and during the World Ocean Day celebration yesterday. Both Richard Branson and Leonardo DiCaprio called on states to move to a treaty.
In June 2015, following a decade of discussions at the United Nations, governments agreed to start negotiations towards the development of a new legally binding treaty to protect and conserve marine life in the high seas. This two-year process reaches its conclusion next month when governments enter their final round of discussions. The final two-week meeting of the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) will culminate in a decision whether to enter into formal treaty negotiations and to address this major loophole in ocean governance. The PrepCom runs from 10-21 July at UN Headquarters in New York City.