A delegation from India and other member countries of the United Nations are in New York to deliberate on a one-of-its-kind agreement to conserve marine biodiversity in the high seas, namely the oceans that extend beyond countries’ territorial waters.
- The agreement follows a resolution by the UN General Assembly in May and is expected to be the final in a series set in motion since 2018 to draft an international legally binding instrument under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
- The high seas comprise nearly 45% of the Earth’s surface.
- A key aspect of the agreement is deciding on the rights of companies that undertake exploration for biological resources in the high seas.
- Last June, the Union Cabinet approved a ‘Blue Economy’ policy for India, a nearly ₹4,000-crore programme spread over five years.
- This among other things will develop a manned submersible vessel as well as work on “bio-prospecting of deep-sea flora and fauna including microbes”.