Agreement reached on global convention on marine biodiversity protection
Today, UN negotiations on an agreement to protect marine biodiversity succeeded after 15 years. The agreement will establish rules to limit environmental impacts and marine protected areas beyond national jurisdiction, which make up 95 per cent of the volume of the world’s oceans. The Swedish Presidency of the Council of the European Union has led the negotiations on behalf of the EU and its Member States together with the European Commission.
“It is very gratifying that an agreement has been reached on protecting marine biodiversity after fifteen years of negotiations. This is the most important international environmental deal since the Paris Agreement and provides a significantly improved opportunity to protect biodiversity and combat climate change. The Swedish Presidency of the Council of the European Union has led the negotiations on behalf of the EU and its Member States together with the European Commission. It is also a victory for the UN and the global system that we have managed to deliver such an important agreement at a very challenging time,” says Minister for Foreign Affairs Tobias Billström.
Negotiations on the protection of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction have been in progress for over ten years. The goal was to fill in the gaps in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982. The new agreement consists of four parts: rules for marine protection areas, environmental impact statements, marine genetic resources, and capacity-building and technology transfer.
Measures to prevent negative environmental impacts in particularly valuable marine areas are crucial to strengthening the resilience of marine life to climate change and human impact. Sweden and the EU support the UN’s goal to protect 30 per cent of the world’s oceans.
“Countries around the world have finally reached an agreement on protecting our international waters. I’m proud to have personally taken part and of the Swedish delegation’s constructive contribution to ensuring that results were successful. Despite the ongoing tensions in the world, we have now shown that progress regarding our shared environment and biodiversity cannot wait,” says Minister for Climate and the Environment Romina Pourmokhtari.
Press Secretary to Minister for Foreign Affairs Tobias Billström
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UN Convention on the Law of the Sea
The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea was adopted in 1982 and contains the global regulations for the use of the ocean. The Convention has successfully created clear rules for states’ actions within a wide range of areas. Because the Convention was negotiated before the biodiversity and climate crises were commonly known, its environmental protection regulations are considered insufficient. There has also been a long dispute over the rules applicable to parts of the ocean and seabed that are beyond national jurisdiction, especially with regard to gains from the use of genetic resources that may have great significance in the development of biotechnology.