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The Principality of Monaco took pole position in joining the High Seas Treaty.

Updated: May 16

The strong spirit of protection of the oceans that animates the Principality comes alive by pursuing at international level the establishment of an appropriate regulatory system. On May the 9th, 2024, Monaco ratified the High Seas Agreement, also known as BBNJ Agreement adopted in New York on th 19th March 2023 at the United Nations. This international legally binding document results from 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. The Principality is the first European Country to have adhered to the treaty and the fifth signatory, globally.

To achieve this target, H.E. Isabelle Picco, Permanent Representative of Monaco to the United Nations (UN), delivered the instrument of ratification to the Head of the Treaty Section of the Organization, following up the signing of the Agreement by H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco in New York, on September the 20th, 2023.

The Principality of Monaco has been largely active for the duration of twenty years of negotiations, following all the fundamental steps since 2004, including the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, known as «Rio +20», before which the Principality hosted a preparatory workshop on the sustainability of the Ocean, was an important step to accelerate the outcome.

Photo >> On the 3rd March 2020, H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco and former US Secretary of State John Kerry kicked off the "High Seas Treaty Dialogue", held in Monaco by the will of the Norwegian Nobel Institute and the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, gathering decision makers to discuss the issue of high seas conservation © PA2F

The BBNJ Agreement, considered as a driver of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, pursues multiple goals to protect the ocean, promote equity and fairness, tackle environmental degradation, fight climate change and prevent biodiversity loss in the high seas, that are all parts of the ocean not under the jurisdiction of States nor included in its exclusive economic zone ( two-thirds of the ocean’s surface and 95% of its volume).

The Convention structure is based on four main axes:

1. Marine Genetic Resources, including the fair and equitable sharing of benefits;

2. Measuring through regional management tools, including Marine Protected Areas;

3. Environmental Impact Assessments;

4. Capacity-building and the transfer of Marine Technology.

A related funding mechanism reinforces this international-law agreement whose aim is to encourage mutual relations among Member States.

Photo >> H.E. Isabelle Picco, Permanent Representative of Monaco to the UN, presents the Instrument of Ratification to the Head of the UN Treaty Section, David Nanopoulos, on the 9th May 2024 © A

The proactive approach by the Principality of Monaco pushed multilateralism to the maximum degree on several occasions, including the Preparatory Committee (2016-2017) and the Intergovernmental Conference in charge of drafting the text of the Agreement (2018-2023).

So far, other four Countries have ratified the Agreement, notably: Palau, Chile, Belize and Seychelles. However, after the five accessions, expectations are high to quickly collect 55 accessions required for entry into force of the High Seas Agreement. ***

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By Maurice Abbati

Journalist; Editor; Communication, Media and Public Relations Specialist

Lecturer and Author in English language of Technical Articles and the Manual: "Communicating the Environment to Save the Planet, a Journey into Eco-Communication" by Springer International Publishing.

Cover page of PhD manual by Maurice Abbati


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