The text will enter into force after ratification by 60 states.
The United Nations (UN) on Monday adopted the first world treaty for the protection of the high seas and the preservation of marine biodiversity in international waters.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres announced the formal approval of the text, noting that member states "have injected new life and hope to give the ocean a fighting chance."
The adoption of the agreement, which was reached by consensus, came after a lengthy process of nearly two decades of discussions and negotiations. Last March, more than 100 countries reached agreement on the text of the High Seas Treaty, also known as the Treaty on Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdictions.
The Secretary-General told the plenary that this historic step "demonstrates the strength of multilateralism" and that "the spirit of international cooperation lives on."
Governments at the UN just formally adopted the Treaty - the next step on the road to making sure it provides the protection world leaders have promised. It’s taken decades, but we finally have a Global Ocean Treaty that can deliver the protection the oceans desperately need! pic.twitter.com/DiulRYSoQE— Greenpeace Aotearoa (@GreenpeaceNZ) June 19, 2023
Guterres added that "by acting to counter threats to our planet that go beyond national borders, you are demonstrating that global threats deserve global action."
The agreement will be open for signature at UN headquarters in New York for two years, starting on September 20. It will enter into force upon ratification by 60 states.
Among other provisions, the agreement will regulate the sharing of benefits derived from marine genetic resources beyond national jurisdictions, the creation of protected areas on the high seas, and the establishment of a framework for assessing environmental damage.
The UN Secretary-General called on all states to act without delay to sign and ratify it as soon as possible.