Progress made towards an international agreement to conserve biodiversity on the
2017-08-08 12:07:24   copyfrom:    hits:

The Spanish Institute of Oceanography formed part of the Spanish delegation participating in the UN meeting (Phot

 
The Spanish Institute of Oceanography formed part of the Spanish delegation participating in the UN meeting. (Photo: IEO)

 

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Monday, August 07, 2017, 22:30 (GMT + 9)

 

Delegations from around the world gathered at the United Nationsheadquarters in New York to lay the groundwork for a binding international agreement for the protection and management of the marine environment on the high seas.

This future agreement has its legal basis in the Convention of the Law of the Sea of ​​1982 and, among its sections, it will include the legislation concerning the future international marine protected areas, the environmental impact assessments in international waters, the future use of marine genetic resources, etc.

The approved document describes, for example, the process of designating marine protected areas on the high seas: from identification criteria, possible vulnerabilities and threats, socio-economic considerations or the monitoring and research plan.

"The identification criteria for these areas will include the importance for threatened species, fragility of ecosystems, rarity and representativeness, connectivity of habitats and resilience or ability to resist climate change," explains Carlos García-Soto, a researcher of the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO) and coordinator of International Relations.

The meeting held last July 21 was the last of four sessions of the so-called PrepCom or Preparatory Committee, which have taken place in the United Nations during 2016 and 2017 to advise the General Assembly that will decide on the future agreement in 2018 or 2019.

"Governance in international waters is currently very weak," says García-Soto. "The future law will respond to the need to extend protection measures, to cover regional gaps and to improve coordination among the various existing agencies."

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