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Prince Albert amongst first heads of state to sign landmark High Seas Treaty

Prince Albert amongst first heads of state to sign landmark High Seas Treaty

prince albert high seas

Prince Albert II has joined 80 other world leaders in signing the High Seas Treaty, which provides for the “common governance” of half of the Earth’s surface and 95% of the volume of the oceans.  

The High Seas Treaty, also known as the agreement on Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ), was presented in New York last week in the context of the United Nations High Level Week, which was attended by Prince Albert.  

“On Wednesday 20th September, the High Seas Treaty was officially opened for signature. HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, who championed the importance of preserving the high seas from the outset, was one of the first Heads of State to sign the treaty,” confirmed the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation via an official statement.   

MORE THAN A DECADE IN THE MAKING 

This milestone agreement, which has been signed by 81 world leaders to date, was designed to allow for common governance of nearly all the world’s oceans and roughly 50% of the Earth’s surface in an effort to take on the challenges associated with environmental degradation, climate change and loss of marine biodiversity, as well as to promote fairness and equality.  

This is important as pressure mounts on the “high seas”, the areas beyond any one nation’s jurisdiction and where issues such as high pollution levels, overexploitation and biodiversity loss are causing significant alarm.  

The adoption of the BBNJ concludes over a decade’s worth of multilateral negotiations and is in keeping with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the legal framework under which all human activities in the seas take place. 

It will enter into force after 60 ratifications.  

NOW WHAT? 

Once ratified, the High Seas Treaty will allow for the creation of marine protected areas at a global level, with a 2030 deadline set to protect and preserve 30% of the planet’s oceans. This is a marked leap from the current 1% and an ambitious aim.  

The agreement has also built a framework for the fair sharing of monetary and non-monetary benefits of marine resources, the transfer of marine technologies to developing nations, and the establishment of a voluntary fund to support developing countries in reaching the UN Sustainable Development Goal 14 on Life Below Water.  

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Photo credit: Michael Alesi / Palais Princier de Monaco