Seas and Oceans: Treaties

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office written question – answered on 29th September 2022.

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Photo of Beth Winter Beth Winter Labour, Cynon Valley

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the progress on securing a UN Ocean Treaty on maritime biodiversity at the Intergovernmental Conference on Marine Biodiversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Vicky Ford Vicky Ford Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)

The fifth Intergovernmental Conference (IGC5) on a new International Legally Binding Instrument under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Biological Diversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ Agreement) took place at the UN in New York from 15-26 August. Considerable progress was made, with the UK playing an active role in trying to build consensus across a range of issues. However, it was not possible for States to finalise the Agreement in the time available and IGC5 is likely to resume early in 2023.

Lord Goldsmith was in close contact with international counterparts before and during the negotiations and further discussions are planned. The UK remains committed to securing an ambitious Agreement and fully supports negotiations resuming as soon as possible. We will continue to engage constructively and proactively to put in place a new international legal framework to ensure better protection of the health of the global ocean.

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