UNGA Resolution Overview and Strategic Significance of Marine Conservation

UNGA Resolution Overview and Strategic Significance of Marine Conservation

Question: UNGA Resolution for New Treaty on Marine Conservation has been passed recently. Discuss the importance of this resolution and the strategic significance of marine conservation.

UNGA Resolution

• The UN General Assembly took on a resolution giving approval for a new treaty for marine life conservation in the high seas

• This resolution launches the first international treaty related to oceans in two decades and the first of its kind on protection and sustainable use of animal as well as plant life in sea areas exceeding the territorial jurisdiction of one country

• The resolution authorises a preparatory committee to meet in 2016 and 2017 and put forth recommendations for provisions for a legal binding legal instrument under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and the General Assembly
• The 193 member body will decide in 2018 regarding the convening of a formal treaty negotiating conference

• Resolution follows commitment by world leaders at Rio+20 conference in Brazil in 2012 to address the protection of high seas

• This resolution formalises January recommendations made by the working group dedicated to assessing if high seas conservation treaty was feasible

• Treaty text will be negotiated next

Strategic Significance of Marine Conservation

• This treaty will lead to a massive shift in the manner of protection and management of oceans and marine life

• High seas account for nearly half the planet and a global network of marine reserves is needed to bring life back into the oceans

• Launching of this treaty process marks a new stage in ocean conservation

• High Seas often known as the Wild West of the Ocean begin 200 miles from shore and fall under no country’s jurisdiction

• An international treaty specifically focused on conservation and sustainable use of marine life on the high seas is an important move, according to conservationists

• The UN will negotiate ways to protect and preserve marine wildlife through this treaty

• Industrialisation and overuse of high seas harms the natural wealth of ecosystems and services provided to persons

• Fishing and shipping inflict adverse impact on high seas ecosystems

• Mining for minerals and new sources of fossil fuels will increase the industrial use of high seas, thereby damaging the ecosystems

• High seas fish catches are pegged at USD 16 billion in a year and outlawed, illegal dishing is a major threat to marine conservation

• Economically and ecologically speaking, marine conservation plays an important role in protecting ecosystems and human existence

Facts and Stats

• High seas comprise 64% of the ocean and 43% of the surface of the earth

• Less than 1 percent of the high seas are completely protected, according to a Pew Infographic

• High seas take up 1.5 billion tons of CO2 annually and keep it out of the atmosphere, as per a 2014 Global Ocean Commission report

• This is among the 15 ecosystem services it offers, many of which are under threat due to human activities
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