from The Internationalist and International Institutions and Global Governance Program

How the United States and the World can Deal with Biodiversity Threats at Sea

A trevally chases fusiliers near Malaysia's Lankayan Island, located in the Sulu-Sulawesi Marine Ecoregion, in the state of Sabah near Borneo on January 9, 2004.
A trevally chases fusiliers near Malaysia's Lankayan Island, located in the Sulu-Sulawesi Marine Ecoregion, in the state of Sabah near Borneo on January 9, 2004. REUTERS/Bazuki Muhammad

The high seas are poorly governed. Ratifying the proposed high seas pact would plug this gaping hole and help preserve the future of life on nearly half of the planet.

Originally published at World Politics Review

March 15, 2021 2:19 pm (EST)

A trevally chases fusiliers near Malaysia's Lankayan Island, located in the Sulu-Sulawesi Marine Ecoregion, in the state of Sabah near Borneo on January 9, 2004.
A trevally chases fusiliers near Malaysia's Lankayan Island, located in the Sulu-Sulawesi Marine Ecoregion, in the state of Sabah near Borneo on January 9, 2004. REUTERS/Bazuki Muhammad
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In my weekly column for World Politics ReviewI argue that the Biden administration has a historic opportunity to spearhead the successful conclusion of negotiations on a U.N. high seas biodiversity convention.

As President Joe Biden’s administration moves to restore U.S. global leadership on the environment, it cannot afford to ignore the health of oceans. It must spearhead the successful conclusion of negotiations on a U.N. high seas biodiversity convention, which are currently adrift. To bring this treaty into port, the United States will need to forge global agreement on several contentious issues. It will also need to temper its neuralgic opposition to legally binding multilateral commitments, recognizing that the treaty poses no threat to U.S. sovereignty and is deeply in American interests.

More on:

Global Governance

Oceans and Seas

Treaties and Agreements

International Law

Joe Biden

Although not entirely lawless, the high seas are poorly governed by a fragmentary patchwork of regulatory schemes covering everything from migratory birds and regional fisheries to deep-sea mining and pollution from ships. The biggest gap in oceans governance is the absence of a comprehensive agreement to conserve and sustainably manage marine living resources and ecosystems on the high seas, which are experiencing catastrophic declines as technological advances permit their unprecedented exploitation. Already, some 40 percent of the world’s oceans have been severely altered by human activity; only 3 percent can be considered pristine.

Read the full World Politics Review article here

More on:

Global Governance

Oceans and Seas

Treaties and Agreements

International Law

Joe Biden

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