At the end of the first post-Rio+20 meeting to consider legal measures for high seas protection, the High Seas Alliance (HSA) concluded that the ship has set sail; slowly and impeded by icy headwinds, but it has set sail.
In plenary on the afternoon of the final day, NGOs made interventions raising concern about the exclusion of NGOs from the BBNJ meeting and asked for assurances that the process will continue in an open and transparent manner. The interventions made on behalf of the High Seas Alliance and its members can be seen below.
During this morning’s plenary session, NGOs were excluded from further discussions at the BBNJ meeting, as States were moved into ‘closed’ working groups.
In contravention of the Aarhus Convention and following similar behaviour at the meeting last year, the Chair ruled that the meeting would continue behind closed doors.
On the first day of the UN meeting to consider biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction, (known as BBNJ) the European Union, G77 & China and the Pacific, Small Island and Developing States, groups were amongst those to speak strongly in favour of an Implementing Agreement under the UN Law of the Sea Convention (UNCLOS).
One of the few positive outcomes from Rio+20 was the commitment of the international community to urgently address the need for high seas conservation including through a possible new Agreement under the Law of the Sea. The United Nations BBNJ (biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction) meeting in New York August 19 – 23 is the first time since Rio that states have sat down to actually address this and to determine whether or not the will to achieve an Agreement exists.
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.
This week at the United Nations in New York, countries from around the world will convene around the subject of protecting marine diversity on the high seas. As part of the work of the ‘The Ad Hoc open-ended informal working group to study issues relating to the conservation and sustainable use of marine Biodiversity Beyond areas of National Jurisdiction.’ – a long name shortened to BBNJ – intersessional workshops are being held to bring together experts and State representatives.
In 2012, scientists from around the world sent messages of concern to the Rio+20 Sustainable Development Summit in support of action to protect the high seas. Watch this High Seas Alliance compilation film of these messages which outline why the high seas need vital protection and what needs to change.