Adoption of the Agreement on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction

Statement on behalf of David Cooper, Acting Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity under agenda item 5 of the further resumed fifth session of the intergovernmental conference on 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. 20 June 2023, New York

Excellencies, distinguished delegates,

It is my great pleasure to congratulate the President of the conference, Ambassador Rena Lee, the facilitators of informal working groups, all delegations, the Secretary-General of the conference and the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea on the adoption of the agreement 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.

You have worked together over almost 20 years to secure this agreement, and the Convention on Biological Diversity and its Secretariat have accompanied you throughout this long journey. We have been actively engaged in these historic negotiations since the beginning, informing the deliberations with relevant scientific and technical information, including the scientific results of the process to describe ecologically or biologically significant marine areas, many of which are located in areas beyond national jurisdiction, as well as guidance emerging from the Conference of the Parties to the Convention, such as the voluntary guidelines on biodiversity-inclusive environmental impact assessments and strategic environmental assessments, annotated for marine and coastal areas.

The adoption of this new agreement is a remarkable achievement in multilateralism. Together with the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework and the other important outcomes of the fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention, in December 2022, the agreement can help to put humanity on a path to achieve the 2050 vision of “living in harmony with nature”. These major global developments will certainly enhance our common efforts to conserve and sustainably use our oceans and to share, fairly and equitably, the benefits from the use of marine genetic resources.

The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework sets out four outcome-oriented goals to be achieved by 2050 and 23 action-oriented targets to be achieved by 2030 in order to halt and reverse biodiversity loss and to put nature on the path to recovery. Nearly all of the 23 targets are highly relevant to the drivers of biodiversity loss that the agreement is addressing, as well as the policy measures and tools proposed in it.

The new agreement will surely accelerate the implementation of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. We are pleased to see that many elements of the agreement provide clear opportunities for synergies and sharing knowledge and experience with work conducted under the Convention on Biological Diversity, including on ecologically or biologically significant marine areas, impact assessment, biodiversity mainstreaming, area-based conservation, capacity-building, access and benefit-sharing for genetic resources and the clearing-house mechanism. We are also pleased to see that the provisions on digital sequence information on marine genetic resources have been drafted taking into account the outcomes of the fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity on this issue, clearly underlining the importance of our respective work being mutually supportive. 

The Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity has acknowledged the importance of the agreement and the need for synergies between our respective processes. As such, at its fifteenth meeting, it specifically tasked the Secretariat with identifying potential options for modalities for collaboration and cooperation with relevant global and regional organizations in the context of the agreement, upon its adoption. Building on our existing collaboration with relevant competent organizations, including through the Sustainable Ocean Initiative global dialogues with regional seas organizations and regional fisheries bodies, the Secretariat stands ready to continue its collaboration to support the implementation of this historic agreement.

Just as we have stood by your side through the negotiations and development of this momentous agreement, we will stand with you to support its robust implementation.

Thank you.


More information:

View Full Statement 

Marine and Coastal Biodiversity

Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework: Targets