High Seas Treaty Agreement Reached

On 4 March 2023, countries reached a significant milestone for the global ocean and efforts to stem global biodiversity decline when they agreed a new international treaty to safeguard marine life in areas that lie beyond national jurisdiction.

What’s Next? The High Seas Treaty will be formally adopted by UN member states in New York on June 19, 2023. The eyes of the world will then turn to governments to swiftly ratify with the goal for it to enter into force by the next UN Ocean Conference in June 2025.

Countdown to the Adoption of the High Seas Treaty

Welcome to the High Seas Alliance

Since its founding in 2011, the High Seas Alliance (HSA) with its 50+ non-governmental members and the International Union for Conservation of Nature has been working towards protecting the 50% of the planet that is the high seas. As the region of the global ocean that is beyond national jurisdiction, the high seas include some of the most biologically important, least protected, and most critically threatened ecosystems in the world.

HSA members work together to inspire, inform and engage the public, decision-makers and experts to support and strengthen high seas governance and conservation, as well as cooperating towards the establishment of high seas protected areas.

The agreement made on 4 March 2023 by UN member states on a new High Seas Treaty is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to shift the status quo of high seas governance and help protect marine life that is found in nearly half the planet from the increasing impacts of overfishing, climate change, deep-seabed mining, shipping and new activities. Until now, for most of the high seas, there have been no legally binding mechanisms for establishing marine protected areas outside States’ national waters, or a global coordination mechanism to assess the environmental impacts of activities in areas beyond national jurisdiction.

Our current priority is to ensure that the Treaty enters into force as soon as possible following its formal adoption by UN member states. Individual countries will then have to sign and ratify it through their own domestic legal processes. The sixtieth country to do so will start a hundred-and-twenty-day countdown, after which the global agreement will become international law.

70% of Earth's surface is ocean: wherever you are, whatever you're doing, you are strongly connected to it.

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