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IUCN urges to Strive for High Seas Biodiversity Treaty

Syllabus - Environment [GS Paper-3]


The director general of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), has recently urged countries worldwide “to strive for a fully functional High Seas Biodiversity Treaty” on World Oceans Day 2024 (8th June).


  • In June 2023, the United Nations agreement on biodiversity past country wide jurisdiction or BBNJ Agreement, also called the High Seas Treaty, was officially followed by governments.
  • It offers an updated framework to The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea that came  into force in 1994.
  • It establishes a funding mechanism and units up institutional arrangements, along with a Conference of the Parties and numerous subsidiary bodies.
  • Members : According to the Alliance, 90 countries have signed the treaty, including India’s neighbours Nepal and Bangladesh.
    • India has neither signed nor ratified the treaty.
    • However, the most effective seven nations — Belize, Chile, Mauritius, Federated States of Micronesia, Monaco, Palau and the Seychelles — have ratified the treaty.
  • This treaty specializes in four most important areas:
    • Marine genetic sources, along with the honest and equitable sharing of blessings;
    • Measures consisting of area-based management tools, which includes marine protected areas;
    • Environmental impact assessments; and
    • Capacity-building and the transfer of marine technology.
  • Implementation repute : It is open for signature by all States and nearby monetary integration companies from 20 September 2023 to 20 September 2025, and could enter into force a hundred and twenty days after the date of deposit of the 60th tool of ratification, approval, popularity or accession.

Key Provisions

  • Area-Based Management Tools (ABMTs): Creation of marine blanketed regions (MPAs) and different area-based measures to conserve biodiversity hotspots and prone ecosystems.
  • Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs): Mandatory EIAs for activities in the high seas to assess and mitigate environmental damage.
  • Marine Genetic Resources (MGRs): Establishing rules for the access to, sharing, and benefit-sharing of MGRs, which includes the ability for financial and non-financial advantages to be shared with developing countries.
  • Capacity Building and Technology Transfer: Provisions to assist developing countries in building their potential to participate in high seas conservation and to access to relevant technology.

Challenges and Concerns

  • Implementation: Turning the treaty’s provisions into powerful motion at the ground can be a major undertaking. The treaty is the result of more than 20 years of protracted negotiations. The details of all the leading contentious provisions, along with environmental impact assessments, sharing of blessings from genetic sources, and mobilisation of budget for conservation activities, are nonetheless to be labored out.
  • Compliance: Ensuring that all countries adhere to the treaty’s policies and policies might be essential.
  • Financing: Securing ok monetary sources for ability constructing and technology switch is a key problem for growing countries.
    • Many problems continue to be unaddressed, which includes the mechanisms for policing the covered areas, the fate of the initiatives that are assessed to be closely polluting, and the resolution of disputes.


  • Global Governance: Fills a chief hole in global ocean governance.
  • Biodiversity Conservation: Protects marine lifestyles in tremendous areas which can be vital for the planet’s health.
  • Sustainable Development: Promotes sustainable use of marine resources, balancing conservation with economic pursuits.
  • Equity: Addresses issues of developing countries regarding access and advantage-sharing of marine assets.

Why is the High Seas Treaty is Important for India?

  • Marine Biodiversity: India has an extended shoreline and is based on marine sources for food safety and livelihoods. The treaty shields the biodiversity of the high seas, which is connected to India’s own marine ecosystems.
  • Blue Economy: The treaty can facilitate India’s participation in the rising blue economy, which includes activities like deep-sea mining and bioprospecting.
  • Global Leadership: India can play an enormous position in shaping the implementation of the treaty and promoting sustainable ocean governance.

Conclusion and Way Forward   

  • The treaty has the capability to contribute to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity by playing a coordinating function and strengthening, enhancing and promoting cooperation amongst current criminal units and frameworks and relevant global, local, subregional and sectoral bodies.
  • This will help hold its ability to provide for current and future generations.
  • Therefore All signing countries have to be supported in the ratification method to deliver this treaty into force, moving almost half of the planet’s surface into higher regulation through global law.
  • The wide variety of ratifying nations for the worldwide agreement on unsustainable fisheries’ practices and subsidies need to increase, so that the sector’s fish stocks are not overexploited.

Source: The DTE

UPSC Mains Practice Question

Q. What is the High Seas Treaty? Discuss its importance for India.

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