On March 4, after ten years of studies, two years of meetings, and a pandemic in the making, the draft of the BBNJ (Biodiversity Beyond Natural Jurisdiction) was generated. for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity in areas beyond natural jurisdiction in the ocean. Essentially, to protect marine life on the high seas, which is all bodies of salt water around the world that are not part of the territorial sea/internal waters of states. They represent 95% of the world’s total habitat by volume and cover half of the world’s surface and 64% of the oceans (Reuters, 2023).
Since the ocean is managed by its own constitution; the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), is the product of three United Nations Conferences on the Law of the Sea, which took place between 1973 and 1982. It addresses issues related to exclusive economic zones, the jurisdiction of the continental shelf, navigation, and mining of the seabed, among other issues (Harvard, 2023) However, changes in marine biodiversity, including climate change, the interests, and objectives of other stakeholders, have shed light on its effectiveness in addressing key considerations such as the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity.
Post-UNCLOS, two implementation agreements were established to fill the gaps in the implementation of the legal instrument and to address the adjacent features arising from the development of ocean activities. In 1994, it focused on the deep seabed mining implementation agreement established by the International Seabed Authority) and, later, an implementation agreement on the conservation and management of straddling fish stocks and stocks. highly migratory fish (UN Fish Stocks Agreement). (Harvard, 2023)
The BBNJ treaty establishes a new framework provided for the fair sharing of the benefits of marine genetic resources, the processes for carrying out environmental analyzes in the high seas, the establishment of Marine Protected Areas (MPA) -30% of the marine depths by 2030-, in addition to, capacity building, technology transfer between states and a strong focus to support developing states. Be guided by consensus by establishing a clearer link of the treaty with existing bodies. Lastly, establish the Conference of the Parties, the Scientific and Technical Body, and, lastly, the Implementation and Compliance committees.
Source: High Seas Alliance & Harvard