Beyond Borders: India to sigh UN high seas treaty on protection of marine biodiversity | India News

NEW DELHI: India will sign a global ‘High Seas Treaty’ – called Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ) Agreement – that will allow the country to enhance its strategic presence in areas beyond its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
The Agreement is an international treaty under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. It aims to address the growing concerns over the long-term protection of marine biodiversity in the high seas.The decision of signing the treaty by India was approved by the Cabinet on July 2.
The Agreement was agreed upon in March 2023 and is open for signature for two years starting September 2023. It will be an international legally binding treaty after it enters into force 120 days after the 60thratification. As of June 2024, 91 countries have signed it, and eight of them have ratified it.
“India remains committed and proactive to the global cause of environmental conservation and sustainable development. We will be signing the Agreement and are propitious of subsequently ratifying it through the necessary legislative processes,” said minister of earth sciences (MoES) Jitendra Singh.
The Agreement sets precise mechanisms for the sustainable use of marine biological diversity through international cooperation and coordination. The member-countries, however, cannot claim or exercise sovereign rights over marine resources derived from the high seas and ensure fair and equitable sharing of benefits.
“The Agreement allows us to enhance our strategic presence in areas beyond our EEZ, which is very promising. In addition to shared monetary benefits, it will further strengthen our marine conservation efforts and collaborations, open newer avenues for scientific research and development, access to samples, sequences and information, capacity building and technology transfer, etc., not just for us but for the benefit of the entire humankind,” said M Ravichandran, secretary, MoES.

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