At the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS), on September 3rd, the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Global Ocean Commission (GOC) jointly hosted a side event, SIDS and Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction, about the implications for SIDS of the proposed UNCLOS Implementing Agreement for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction. Panelists included GOC Commissioner Robert Hill, of the Global Ocean Commission, H.E. Ms. Inga Rhonda King, Permanent Representative of St. Vincent and the Grenadines to the United Nations, Tevita Suka Mangisi, Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN of the Kingdom of Tonga, and Duncan Currie of the High Seas Alliance. The session was opened by Remi Parmentier, GOC Deputy Executive Secretary and moderated by Joan Yang of the Pew Charitable Trusts.
The diverse panel spoke on the urgent need to launch negotiations for an implementing agreement that would address increasing impacts on the high seas from human activities. Each speaker gave concrete examples of why such an agreement was necessary. The participants recognized the role of SIDS and their particular interest in oceans and seas given their role as custodians of these vast expanses. There was a robust discussion following the presentations, with a number of participants highlighting the need to urgently address marine conservation.
The event also highlighted the potential of such an agreement to provide a mechanism for SIDS to build durable partnerships on high seas issues. Participants further recognized that such an agreement could assist with tackling governance challenges, conserving high seas resources, revitalizing coastal areas and addressing SIDS’ vulnerabilities.
Cover photo High Seas Alliance