CrackitToday App

High Seas Biodiversity Treaty

High Seas Biodiversity Treaty:

Grethel Aguilar, the director general of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), urged countries worldwide “to strive for a fully functional High Seas Biodiversity Treaty”.

  • The high seas are those areas of the world’s oceans that are outside national jurisdictions.
  • They constitute a huge chunk of the world’s oceans and are home to a wide variety of biodiversity.

Key points about the treaty:

  • While countries are responsible for the conservation and sustainable use of waterways under their national jurisdiction, the high seas now have added protection from such destructive trends as pollution and unsustainable fishing activities.
  • The treaty aims at strengthening resilience and contains provisions based on the polluter-pays principle as well as mechanisms for disputes. It addresses the issue of toxic chemicals and plastic waste flooding into coastal ecosystems.
    Sustainable Management of Fish Stocks: More than one third of global fish stocks are over-exploited, according to the UN.
  • The treaty underlines the importance of capacity building and the transfer of marine technology.
  • The treaty provides a legal framework for addressing various stressors affecting the marine environment in the high seas.
  • The treaty is crucial for addressing the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution.
  • The treaty recognizes traditional knowledge. It has articles regarding the “polluter-pays” principle, and different impacts of human activities including areas beyond the national jurisdiction of the countries making those activities.
  • The agreement was adopted by the 193 United Nations Member States.
  • Before the treaty can enter into force, it needs to be ratified by at least 60 UN member states.
  • However, only seven countries — Belize, Chile, Mauritius, Federated States of Micronesia, Monaco, Palau and the Seychelles — have ratified the treaty. India has neither signed nor ratified the treaty.
  • Greenpeace called it “the biggest conservation victory ever”. The main achievement is the new possibility to create marine protected areas in international waters.


  • The United Nations agreement on biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction or BBNJ Agreement, also referred to by some stakeholders as the High Seas Treaty or Global Ocean Treaty, is a legally binding instrument for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction.
  • It is an agreement under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
  • The text was finalised during an intergovernmental conference at the UN on 4 March 2023 and adopted on 19 June 2023.