Historic High Seas Treaty Agreed: Next Phase Begins

The International Center for Dialogue and Peacebuilding wishes to join the chorus of voices welcoming the conclusion of negotiations which resulted in agreement of the text of an international legally binding agreement under the UNCLOS on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction (BBNJ)/ “High Seas Treaty”. We commend all those involved in the process – from the meetings of the Adhoc Committee, the PrepCom and the Intergovernmental Conference – to produce a vehicle which will aid in the promotion and adherence of the rule of law in the High Seas.

The International Center for Dialogue and Peacebuilding is proud of its instrumental role in providing a forum for discussion of the complex issues involved in crafting the BBNJ Agreement, especially during the two-year period when, due to the Covid 19 Pandemic, the United Nations Intergovernmental Conference was unable to meet in person to address issues related to the finalization of this landmark multilateral instrument.

This Track 1.5 dialogue process, co-hosted by the governments of Monaco, Belgium and Costa Rica, brought over 100 governments together regularly to make progress toward the adoption a High Seas Treaty. The platform helped to create a more inclusive treaty process by enabling more states, especially states belonging to the G77, to better follow the negotiations and participate effectively.

Progress made during these informal intersessional dialogues prevented the treaty process itself from stalling out and lead to the successful finalization of the BBNJ Agreement on 4 March 2023.

We are grateful to the committed diplomats and public servants around the world who, despite their busy schedules, made time to advance progress on the treaty during these dialogues. This process also greatly benefited from the expertise and participation of members of the High Seas Alliance, including the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

ICDP’s work – in conjunction with governments, civil society and other entities – gives credence to the call for partnerships in facilitating sustainable development for all, consistent with the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

We will build on this established platform as we enter the next phase of the BBNJ process to assist in matters related to the agreement’s signature, ratification, entry into force and implementation. The platform will establish a globally representative Advisory Committee, Ad Hoc Committee and a wide Consultative Network.  Learn more or get in touch at: BBNJInformals.org

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