How does the ‘High Seas Treaty’ under the UNCLOS aim to protect marine biodiversity in the high seas?

  • 10 Jul 2024

Recently, the Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister, approved India to sign the High Seas Treaty’.

The Treaty aims to conserve biodiversity in the High Seas in the following manner:

  • UNCLOS: ‘High Seas Treaty’ also known as the Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ) Agreement is an international treaty under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
  • Aim: It aims to address the growing concerns over the long-term protection of marine biodiversity in the high seas.
  • Mechanism for Sustainable Use of Marine Resources: It establishes mechanisms for the sustainable use of marine resources through international collaboration and coordination.
  • Denying Exclusive Rights: Parties to the agreement cannot claim exclusive rights over marine resources from the high seas.
  • Ecosystem-centric Approach: It adopts an inclusive, integrated, and ecosystem-centric approach, grounded in the precautionary principle.
  • Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Resources: This landmark decision marks a significant step towards the conservation and sustainable utilisation of marine biological diversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction.
  • Minimising Impact on Marine Biodiversity: It will help to minimise impacts on the marine biodiversity through area-based management tools and establishes rules for conducting environmental impact assessments.