|United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomes the adoption of the treaty on high seas. Photo: Xinhua/VNA
The legally binding treaty to conserve and ensure the sustainable use of ocean biodiversity has been discussed for 15 years, including four years of formal talks. 100 countries reached an agreement after five rounds of lengthy negotiations chaired by the UN. The treaty was ratified one day after the originally scheduled deadline. The treaty will be officially ratified after the wording is carefully studied by lawyers and translated into the six official languages of the UN.
Although the official document has not been released, environmentalists consider the agreement after such a long negotiation a breakthrough in protecting biodiversity.
The Vietnamese delegation, led by Ambassador Dang Hoang Giang, the Permanent Representative of Vietnam to the United Nations, made substantial contributions to the negotiation, including proposals for the shared interests of developing countries, particularly regulations related to capacity building and marine technology transfer.
According to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the high seas begin at the border of countries’ exclusive economic zones, which extend 370km from coastlines. Beyond that point, the seas are under the jurisdiction of no country.
Even though the high seas comprise more than 60% of the world’s oceans and nearly half the planet’s surface, only 1% of the seas are currently protected.
“This action is a victory for multilateralism and for global efforts to counter the destructive trends facing ocean health, now and for generations to come,” said the UN chief in a statement issued by his spokesperson late Saturday evening, just hours after the deal was struck.