Scientists and marine conservationists are celebrating the establishment of a new treaty to protect the environment on the high seas, with a vast ocean expanse that lies outside the country’s territorial waters and accounts for roughly half of the Earth’s surface.
Susanna Fuller, vice-president of operations for the Nova Scotia-based environmental organization Oceans North, was prevalent as an observer at the talks, “The binding agreement, the result of nearly two decades of multilateral efforts. ”
The treaty is the first international agreement to address biodiversity in the deep ocean, a part of the biosphere that is still poorly understood despite playing a critical role in transporting carbon and nutrients around the planet.
Other steps include establishing a location where the treaty would be administered and establishing a new convention of the parties (COP) with weekly meetings that looked like developing the agreement in detail, similar to how international climate and biodiversity talks are performed.
Dr. Fuller called the treaty’s level of environmental protection “imperfect” but added that anything more substantial would have likely made a deal untenable. “It’s a compelling scene,” said Dr. Fuller. “And these are few and far between.”
After years of setbacks and talks, it is a relief to see an agreement come to fruition thanks to the cooperation of so many countries, especially at this time of increased international tension.