To ask the Secretary of State Foreign and Commonwealth Office, pursuant to the Answer of 1 November 2017 to Question 109463, what assessment his Department has made of the level of international support for a new international agreement under the UN for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs have been closely involved in the negotiations of the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) to develop an international legally binding instrument under 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 fourth session of the PrepCom adopted, by consensus, a set of recommendations to the UN General Assembly so that it could take a decision on convening an Inter-Governmental Conference to finalise the new treaty. There was overwhelming support to moving towards negotiation of the new treaty.
However, the textual elements recommended for consideration do not reflect consensus and we recognise that the negotiations on some aspects of the treaty may be difficult, in particular matters related to marine genetic resources and benefit sharing, and the relationship with existing competent bodies such as the International Maritime Organization and regional fishery management organisations.