UN treaty on high seas

Prelims level : Environment / Mains: Paper - III conservation Mains level :
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  • United Nations begins talks on a 2020 treaty that would regulate the high seas, which cover half the planet.

Need for the Treaty:

  •    The UN adopted the Convention on the Law of the Sea, but left the high seas free from restrictions.
  • The negotiations will relate to spaces beyond national jurisdictions, or areas that belong to no country in particular
  • Only five percent of the high seas have been investigated, because most research focuses on coastal areas.
  • The main sources  of  ocean  pollution are  chemicals  like  pesticides  and  fertilizers  that are produced and used inland, and eventually find their way to the ocean.
  • The treaty could protect some of the most vulnerable and potentially over-exploited ocean resources on earth, particularly deep-water ecosystems and seamounts.
  • Protecting these  areas,  identified  by  The  International  Union  For  The  Conservation  Of Nature  (IUCN)  as  a  top  research  and  conservation  priority,  could  likely  yield  higher conservation, food security, and climate resilience value than most other areas of the high seas.

About the Treaty:

  • Four sessions of talks, each lasting two weeks, are planned to take place over two years, with the  goal  of  protecting  marine  biodiversity  and  avoiding  further  pillaging  of  the oceans.
  • Talk will focus on the high seas and the international zone of marine waters, or about 46% of the planet’s surface
  • Talks will  focus  on  creating  protected  areas  on  the  high  seas,  more  sharing  of  maritime resources and technology, and research on environmental impacts.
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