IMO supports new international oceans treaty

The landmark agreement aims to ensure marine biodiversity is protected by law 

IMO supports new international oceans treaty


This historic treaty aims to ensure marine biodiversity is protected by law

By Laura Hyde |

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has welcomed the adoption of a new treaty designed to promote the conservation and marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction, known as BBNJ. 

The historic treaty addresses conservation, the sustainable use of marine biodiversity, marine genetic resources, area-based management tools, environmental impact assessments and marine technology, among other issues. The BBNJ was adopted during the fifth session at the Intergovernmental Conference at the United Nations headquarters in New York. It opens for signatures on 20 September and will come into force after it has been ratified by 60 States. 

Present throughout the negotiations for this latest treaty, IMO has actively cooperated with the UN, in particular with Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea of the Office of Legal Affairs of the United Nations and the International Seabed Authority, as well as other specialised agencies like the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of Unesco and the International Labour Organization. 

“I congratulate all parties on the successful adoption of the new legally binding instrument on marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction,” said Kitack Lim, IMO secretary general. “This landmark achievement will no doubt reinforce efforts to protect biodiversity in line with the aims of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Kunming-Montreal Global Framework for Biodiversity. IMO has participated throughout the negotiations, given the organisation's mandate and expertise, and will continue to participate in the implementation of the new instrument. IMO looks forward to further strengthening our cooperation with Member States, the UN family and all other stakeholders.” 

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