Context: Members of United Nations adopted the first ever treaty to protect marine life in the high seas.
UN High Seas Treaty:
- The United Nations adopted the Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction Treaty (BBNJ), also known as the High Seas Treaty, marking the first-ever legally binding international treaty governing the high seas.
- The High Seas Treaty was approved by all 193 U.N. member states and aims to establish regulations to protect the environment, prevent conflicts related to natural resources and shipping, and address various issues in waters beyond any country’s national jurisdiction.
- The treaty introduces a framework for the creation of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the high seas, which will complement existing MPAs within national territorial waters.
- This initiative is intended to address biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation caused by climate change impacts such as ocean warming and acidification, as well as challenges posed by plastics, pollutants, and overfishing.
Focus areas under High Seas Treaty:
- Marine genetic resources (MGRs), including the fair and equitable sharing of benefits.
- Area-based management tools (ABMTs), including marine protected areas (MPAs).
- Environmental impact assessments (EIAs).
- Capacity building and transfer of marine technology (CB&TMT).