France hails progress on protecting marine biodiversity

Biodiversity – Progress in negotiations for a future treaty on the protection of marine biodiversity on the high seas – Joint press communiqué issued by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs and the Ministry for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition

Paris, 4 September 2019

The Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs and the Minister for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition welcome the progress in negotiations for a future treaty on the protection of marine biodiversity on the high seas.

The third session of the intergovernmental conference to negotiate a treaty on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (known as the BBNJ negotiations) ended in New York on 30 August. The session was an important step in the drafting of a treaty, enabling initial negotiation work to be done on an elaborate and detailed draft text.

The future treaty should enable new tools for protecting marine biodiversity to be established, in particular the creation of marine protected areas on the high seas, impact studies on activities in these areas, the introduction of a system for benefit-sharing from marine genetic resources beyond national jurisdictions, the strengthening of development countries’ capabilities and the transfer of marine technologies to them.

The negotiations reflect the whole international community’s awareness that the ocean is a fragile environment whose protection is everyone’s responsibility and requires binding rules to be adopted which are actionable by all.

Given that the ocean is one of the driving forces of the global economy, marine biodiversity – which shapes the health of the ocean and its ability to provide the goods and services humanity relies on – is heavily under threat, in particular in areas beyond national juridiction, where governance remains insufficient.

The future treaty will have to guarantee the sustainable management of the many resources the ocean provides. It will also have to enable it to continue playing its role as a global climate regulator, because it is a source of solutions for mitigation and adaptation, particularly thanks to the proper functioning of its ecosystems.

In adopting the Metz Charter on Biodiversity, endorsed in Biarritz by the heads of state and government, the G7 welcomed the negotiations under way at the United Nations to draft a legally binding international instrument, under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction.

France, together with the European Union, will continue actively supporting the work under way, so that everything is done to ensure that the negotiation timetable is honoured and a solid, effective draft treaty is submitted to the United Nations General Assembly at the end of 2020, a year which will be of major importance for global biodiversity.

“France will continue its efforts with its European Union partners to ensure an international agreement is reached guaranteeing the protection and sustainable use of marine biodiversity,” said M. Jean-Yves Le Drian.

“A high level of ambition in negotiations on the future multilateral agreement is one of the major guidelines of France’s ecological and inclusive transition and is included in the government’s Biodiversity Plan. This ambition will be promoted at every international body and discussion forum, as was the case during the G7 summit in Biarritz,” said Mme Elisabeth Borne./.

Published on 12/09/2019

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