Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - UN talks on treaty to protect high seas




UN talks on treaty to protect high seas

UN talks on treaty to protect high seas

UNITED Nations member states on Tuesday kick off long-awaited talks on a 2020 treaty that would regulate the high seas, which cover half the planet yet lack adequate environmental protection.

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 ocean pillaging.

“The negotiations will relate to spaces beyond national jurisdictions, or areas that belong to no country in particular,” said Julien Rochette of Paris-based think tank Iddri, or the Institute of Sustainable Development and International Relations.

Talk will focus on “the high seas and the international zone of marine waters, or about 46 per cent of the planet’s surface,” he added.

In 1982, the UN adopted the Convention on the Law of the Sea, but left the high seas free from restrictions. “All states enjoy the traditional freedoms of navigation, overflight, scientific research and fishing on the high seas,” it said.

The convention took effect in 1994, without the participation of the US. Since then, shipping routes have expanded considerably, and the resources of the ocean deep have aroused significant interest, whether by fishing or mineral extraction.

Ocean sanctuaries

“Marine life is already reeling from the impact of industrial fishing, climate change and other extractive industries.

“We have a shared responsibility to protect our global oceans before it is too late,” said Sandra Schoettner, a marine biologist with Greenpeace.

Talks will focus on creating protected areas seas, more sharing of maritime resources and technology, and research on environmental impacts.

Some whale-hunting nations, like Japan, Iceland and Norway, are expected to be more cautious than others because they fear strict fishing restrictions.

The US is also reticent “because they are opposed to all regulation of marine genetic resources and they did not ratify the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea,” said Rochette.

“Russia has also been dragging its feet for a long time.”

Liz Karan, an ocean expert at the US-based Pew Charitable Trusts, called the negotiations “a critical turning point.”

“We now understand so much more about the interconnectedness of the world’s ocean with the health of the planet,” Karan said. “It’s time for the global community to take action to develop a treaty to protect the high seas.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen says Kingdom not a 'satellite country'

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said Cambodia had sent diplomatic notes to various embassies demonstrating its stance and clarifying allegations that the Kingdom is a satellite country of China which will allow it exclusive access to the Ream Naval Base in Preah Sihanouk province. The response

  • Vast Prince Manor fun park opens to much fanfare in Kandal

    Chinese-owned Prince Culture and Development Co Ltd officially launched the $85 million Prince Manor entertainment centre in Kandal province on Wednesday. Prince Manor is located along National Road 1, 20km from the centre of Phnom Penh. It is the first major theme park project in Cambodia and

  • Angkor provides ‘valuable’ water storage

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has stored millions of cubic metres of water at reservoirs in the Angkor area after Cambodia experienced a series of rainstorms over the last few days. The storing of the water, besides serving temple conservation, will also be used to

  • Floods prompt evacuations in Kampong Speu

    Rain-induced floods and water flowing from Kampong Speu province have submerged the houses of 1,527 families living close to the Prek Thnot River in Spean Thma, Tien, Kong Noy and Roluos communes in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district, according to data from local authorities. Spean Thma

  • Serving coffee with a side of robots

    The eye-catching glass building surrounded by greenery at the intersection of Streets 371 and 2002 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district is more than just another coffee shop where you can while away a few hours. UrHobby House cafe is filled with robots and characters from

  • Cintri strike ends, workers’ contracts to be terminated

    CINTRI (Cambodia) Ltd rubbish collectors who have been on strike for the past 13 days agreed to return to work starting Wednesday evening after the company agreed to terminate their contracts at the end of January next year and provide seniority payments and other benefits to