Success: Nations Agree on Historic Treaty for Marine Conservation

Target: Rena Lee, United Nations Ambassador for Oceans and Law of the Sea Issues

Goal: Celebrate the consensus achieved on protecting marine biodiversity in the high seas.

Delegates from all over the world attended the recently concluded Intergovernmental Conference on Marine Biodiversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction. Convened in New York, the conference was summoned to draft a conclusive legally binding instrument after an inconclusive fifth session last year. The finalization of the treaty has been on the agenda of the General Assembly for close to two decades. The ForceChange community took notice of this important issue and sent this petition to the United Nations headquarters highlighting the urgent need to arrive at a final decision. Finally, the tough negotiations culminated in a draft treaty agreed upon by the UN member states. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres congratulated the delegates on achieving the “breakthrough” after a long and arduous conference. The final session of the summit lasted for more than 36 hours before the agreement was signed. Conference President Rena Lee broke down after saying, “Ladies and gentlemen, the ship has reached the shore.”

The final draft of the ‘High Seas Treaty’ sets the legal framework to designate 30 percent of the ocean as protected areas. The final draft also agrees upon the provisions to appropriate funding for marine conservation and implement standard protocols for marine genetic resources. The spokesperson to the Secretary-General complimented the participants on the ‘victory for multilateralism’ against the ‘destructive trends facing ocean health.’ The congratulatory message also added that the effect of the treaty would be crucial for ‘now and generations to come.’

The Secretary-General also emphasized that the treaty is a major step forward towards achieving the 30 x 30 pledge finalized at the historic Montreal conference last year. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework intend to conserve a third of the world’s biodiversity by the year 2030. Issues affecting the oceans include plastic pollution, drilling, and deep-sea fishing.

The conference ended with a final draft to define the precincts of ocean conservation. Delegates are scheduled to reconvene later to adopt the text formally. Congratulate the United Nations on this landmark achievement that would have a lasting effect to protect the deep oceans from damages caused by human action.


Dear Ambassador Lee,

Delegates at the Intergovernmental Conference on Marine Biodiversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction have finally achieved a consensus. The final agreement is to have a crucial role in protecting marine biodiversity on the high seas from human actions. The deal has been struck after close to two decades of negotiations.

We congratulate you on presiding over this landmark conference. Your stewardship has been crucial in finalizing the legal draft, especially after a final session that stretched for more than thirty-six hours.

We hope that the conference will be recorded in the pages of history as a landmark achievement to defend the planet.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Frank Mckenna

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