Finalising the UN high seas treaty

Negotiations at the United Nations to conserve marine life in the two-thirds of the ocean that lie beyond national boundaries stalled at the fifth session in August 2022.

Ocean Voices Programme Director Harriet Harden-Davies (second from left) participated in the conference at the United Nations in New York 15-26 August 2022, working alongside scientists such as University of Edinburgh PhD candidate Christine Gaebel, Professor Marcel Jaspars (University of Aberdeen), Muriel Rabone (Natural History Museum), Deep Ocean Stewardship Initiative early career ocean professionals Vanessa Lopes and Mariana Caldeira, Professor Judith Gobin (University of The West Indies), and Julia Schutz Veiga (NOVA University) and Kristina Gjerde (IUCN).

These negotiations are critical to ensure that the ecological, cultural and economic value that this vast ocean space provides to humanity are safeguarded for present and future generations. The treaty will provide much needed mechanisms to protect and preserve marine life, and to build capacity of all States to realise their rights and fulfill their obligations in the ocean commons.

There is now a narrow window of opportunity to reach an equitable and effective outcome. Ocean Voices is pleased to be working towards this historic milestone for the ocean by researching solutions, and convening dialogues between scientists and policymakers from around the world.

You can read more about the treaty and the actions required to finalise negotiations in our Science editorial- High seas treaty within reach