Friday, July 19, 2024

New global biodiversity treaty ‘a win for our oceans’ says Minister

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nanaia Mahuta, has welcomed a new global treaty aimed at protecting and restoring high seas biodiversity.

She said the conclusion of negotiations followed two decades of talks at the United Nations.

“This new agreement is a huge win for our oceans, and a huge win for global cooperation,” Ms Mahuta said.

“Our connection to the ocean is a fundamental part of what makes us New Zealanders, as is the seriousness with which we take our kaitiaki responsibilities. This agreement is a reflection of those values at a global scale and I am proud of the role that Aotearoa New Zealand played to reach this success.”

The agreement reached by delegates of the Intergovernmental Conference on Marine Biodiversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ) is the culmination of UN-facilitated talks that began in 2004.  

Already being referred to as the ‘High Seas Treaty’, the legal framework would place 30% of the world’s oceans into protected areas, put more money into marine conservation, and covers access to and use of marine genetic resources. 

“The New Zealand negotiating team worked tirelessly to achieve a treaty with strong environmental outcomes and to bridge gaps in contentious areas. This is something New Zealand negotiators are really good at and is part of the value we bring to difficult negotiations,” said Ms Mahuta.

Nearly two-thirds of the ocean lies outside any country’s national jurisdiction or control. This area contains an exceptional level of biodiversity that is increasingly under pressure from human activity and the impacts of climate change and ocean acidification.

The new agreement will help to protect biodiversity in the high seas by enabling the international community to establish marine protected areas, and by setting clear procedures for assessing the environmental impacts of activities, the Minister said.

“The agreement also contains innovative provisions to share the benefits of marine genetic resources from the high seas and to build capacity for developing countries to implement the objectives of the agreement.”

“In a time of heightened geopolitical complexity, this agreement is a timely reminder of the enduring promise of the United Nations to address the world’s most complex and pressing challenges through determined multilateral effort,” said Ms Mahuta.

Latest Articles