London, UK – The High Seas Alliance welcomes the announcement on July 23rd by the European Union to promote a process for negotiations for an UNCLOS Implementing Agreement to be launched as soon as possible.
The High Seas Alliance, a coalition of 30 member organizations, agrees that the need to protect the high seas, which makes up 50% of the planet, is increasingly urgent and must be addressed without further delay.
Last year, at Rio+ 20, countries committed to address issues on the high seas including implementation of marine protected areas, environmental impact assessments and strategic environmental assessments of proposed human activities as well as access and benefit sharing of marine genetic resources by September 2015.
The High Seas Alliance believes that negotiations should commence immediately to develop a legally binding agreement to address the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction
“The European Union has said that the current status quo is not acceptable and that negotiations of an UNCLOS Implementing Agreement should be launched as soon as possible. We couldn’t agree more,’ said Susanna Fuller, Coordinator for the High Seas Alliance. “The time is act is now. Governments have an opportunity next month at the United Nations in New York to take action to protect marine biodiversity on the high seas.”
The Alliance is calling on all governments to prioritise the upcoming meeting in New York on August 19-23, the Informal Working Group to study issues relating to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity (known as the ‘BBNJ’).