Important milestone for the world’s ocean

After nearly 20 years of negotiations, last Saturday night saw a critical development towards the legal framework for the conservation of the two-thirds of the ocean that lie beyond national jurisdiction. Ocean Voices was there to support and experience this historic moment.

On Friday 3 March, the final day of negotiations started for a new UN treaty for marine biodiversity in the two thirds of the ocean beyond national jurisdiction. The outcome is a critical milestone for international ocean governance.  

Negotiators worked through the night, and on Saturday, after 36 hours, the gavel came down. Pizza and paracetamol were some of the supplies that passed through the gates to fuel the delegates undertaking this important work. The hard work and skill of the negotiators navigated challenging issues, such as decision making and sharing benefits of genetic resources, and delivered an outcome that has been 20 years in the making.

UN Conference Room
View of the UN Conference Room on Friday, 3rd March.

Next, an open-ended informal working group will make technical edits, the text will then be translated into all official UN languages. Soon after, states will meet for half a day to adopt the treaty. 

The Nippon Foundation-University of Edinburgh Ocean Voices Programme is pleased to have supported the participation of researchers in this historic meeting for the ocean. We look forward to continuing to work with our partners to support the process towards this agreement's entry into force

But first, time for a rest for all those involved and a reflection on the process and outcomes. 

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Ocean Voices at BBNJ
Ocean Voices at UN BBNJ Negotiations