Symposium on the High Seas Treaty

UN High Seas Treaty visual

Following the adoption (June 2023) and opening for signature (September 2023) of the Agreement under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ Agreement, also known as the High Seas Treaty), ocean experts are now starting to explore how to move ‘from negotiations to implementation’. The ‘High Seas Treaty Symposium’, which took place in Edinburgh on 6-7 October 2023, aimed to discuss the next steps towards the implementation of the Agreement.

Catherine Blanchard (Assistant Professor of Public International Law at Utrecht University) attended the event, which gathered ocean scientists, State representatives, academics, representatives from the industry and members of civil society. The event focused first on the four main elements covered by the Agreement (marine genetic resources, area-based management tools, environmental impact assessments, and capacity building) in order to identify the main challenges that could arise in the operationalization of the relevant provisions of the Agreement. The Symposium then discussed cross-cutting issues such as dispute settlement, the role of the scientific body, the implications of the Agreement for the industry, the relationships between the Agreement and other global and regional bodies, and finally explored the work to be done in preparation for the first BBNJ COP.

More information on the event can be found on the website of the symposium.