Following marathon negotiations, the member states of the UN agreed, on Saturday in New York, on an international treaty for the protection of the high seas. This is the first treaty aimed at countering the threats that weigh on vital ecosystems for humanity.
This treaty will be formally adopted at a later date after being vetted by legal services and translated to be available in the six official UN languages.
The high seas begin where the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) of the States end, at a maximum of 200 nautical miles (370 km) from the coasts and are therefore not under the jurisdiction of any State.
According to specialists, even if it represents more than 60% of the oceans and almost half of the planet, it has long been ignored in the environmental fight, in favor of coastal areas and a few emblematic species.
The new treaty, when it comes into force after it has been ratified by enough countries, will create marine protected areas in these international waters.
With the progress of science, proof has been made of the importance of protecting these oceans, teeming with an often microscopic biodiversity, which also provides half of the oxygen we breathe and limits global warming by absorbing important part of the CO2 emitted by human activities.
In a statement, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres hailed a breakthrough that marks the culmination of nearly two decades of work and builds on the legacy of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. .
“This action is a victory for multilateralism and for global efforts to counter the destructive trends facing the health of the oceans, now and for generations to come,” the UN chief said, calling for action to be taken. to the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution.
Only about 1% of the high seas is subject to conservation measures, and this emblematic tool is considered essential if we hope to protect 30% of the land and oceans of the planet by 2030, as committed to by the all the governments of the planet in December.