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Statement by President Higgins on negotiations for a UN ocean treaty

Date: Tue 30th Aug, 2022 | 10:56

“It is with disappointment that I join with conservationists and people across the world in expressing my concern at the failure of the fifth round of negotiations of the Intergovernmental Conference to reach an agreement on an international legally binding instrument 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.

UN Sustainable Development Goal 14 commits to conserving and sustainably using the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. This is a vital goal in delivering on the United Nations’ shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future.

In order to protect the world’s oceans, and all those forms of life that live in and depend upon them, including those living in the most vulnerable islands of the world, it is vital that the commitment of the High Ambition Coalition to protect 30% of the planet’s land and sea by 2030 is delivered upon, at a bare minimum.

The finalisation of an internationally binding treaty to protect biodiversity in the high seas is of urgent importance and I would urge the United Nations General Assembly to resume the session as soon as possible and for the commitment to finalise a treaty by the end of the year to be met.

It is vital that all countries engage in bilateral negotiations in good faith in order to protect all of humanity and it is important that Heads of State and Heads of Government urge their missions to ensure that this process results in the agreement urgently necessary to protect our planet.”