Almost 200 countries on Sunday signed a treaty to protect marine life in international waters, which was preceded by two weeks of negotiations at the United Nations headquarters in New York City.
The governments of each country that signed the treaty will still have to ratify the legally-binding agreement.
“I’m extremely encouraged that countries have agreed on the UN legally binding instrument to ensure the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction,” Antonio Guterres, the director-general of the UN, said in a statement.
A spokesperson for Guterres hailed the treaty as a “breakthrough” and said the signing of the treaty “marks the culmination of nearly two decades of work” after the United Nations first discussed ocean protection in 2004.
“It is crucial for addressing the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
The High Seas Treaty will provide the international community with tools and means to create protected areas in the ocean and conduct evaluations of such things as the damage of commercial activities like deep sea mining to marine life.
The agreement comes after Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, launched a coalition of more than 50 countries committed to finalizing the treaty in February 2022.
CURRENTPH NEWS SERVICE