UN Treaty to Promote ‘Conservation and Sustainable Use’ of International Waters

posted: 06/23/15
by: Danny Clemens
Sunlight under the sea

United Nations member states will negotiate a legally binding treaty to protect marine wildlife in the open ocean, the areas of the ocean that lie outside of the exclusive economic zone of any one nation.

Specifically, the treaty will promote "conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction".

At present, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea governs international waters. Although the treaty focuses heavily on defining international boundaries, it does include environmental provisions. However, the 1982 treaty has come under fire for not keeping pace with technological and industrial developments of recent decades.

"The High Seas are the heart of the ocean, and as such are in urgent need of increased protections," remarked Joanna Nasar, of the Turtle Island Restoration Network, one of 27 organizations fighting for the protections. "We look forward to the day when industrialization and fishing on the High Seas is regulated as it should be."

For the next two years, international governments and other interested parties will form a preparatory committee to carry out research pertaining to possible treaty provisions. The committee will report back to the General Assembly in 2017, and a treaty can be expected as soon as 2018.

Click here to read the full resolution from the United Nations

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