The Tánaiste, Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Minister for Defence, Micheál Martin TD, has signed a landmark international agreement on global ocean conservation at the United Nations in New York.

The Agreement on Marine Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ), marks a significant milestone in international cooperation as the first dedicated global treaty on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity of the High Seas.

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The High Seas comprise two thirds of oceans and half the surface area of the planet, but fall outside the jurisdiction of any country.

The agreement will provide for the creation of a global network of High Seas marine protected areas (MPAs).

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Presently only 1% of the High Seas are protected by MPAs, far short of what is envisaged by the “30 by 30” target of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework agreed in December 2022.

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On signing the BBNJ Agreement, the Tánaiste said:

Today, we mark a historic moment for the protection of our oceans.

Following years of negotiation, this landmark agreement shows the power of international cooperation.

It stands as a beacon of hope, demonstrating a shared commitment to fulfilling the targets set out in the Global Biodiversity Framework and the Sustainable Development Goals, preserving the oceans’ invaluable ecosystems and resources for future generations.

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and he continued:

Ireland has played an active and constructive role in negotiating this agreement.

It has the potential to greatly enhance the protection of our global marine environment.

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