Pacific welcomes adoption of High Seas Treaty by UN

French Secretary of State for the Sea Hervé Berville, US actress and activist Jane Fonda, and Ocean and Polar advisor with Greenpeace Laura Meller at a media conference on the High Seas Treaty at the UN in New York, , March 2023. Photo: ANGELA WEISS/AFP

The world is another step closer to protecting 30 percent of the ocean after the Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction Treaty was adopted by the United Nations in New York.

The agreement, more commonly known as the High Seas Treaty, was adopted at the UN headquarters and had gathered large support from the Pacific.

It aims to ensure the conservation of ocean areas beyond national jurisdictions by creating the framework for Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) to be established on the high seas.

The treaty aims to cover 30 percent of the world’s oceans by 2030 – a goal made in December by the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.

Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General Henry Puna celebrated the adoption of the treaty saying it recognised the special connection people in the region had with the ocean.

“It recognises that coastal states have interests in what is going on outside our borders,” he said in a statement.

“It recognises that our indigenous peoples and local communities have a role to play in the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity even beyond our borders, and that their rights as holders of traditional knowledge must be upheld.”