“A major legal achievement in tackling today’s ocean challenges”: Monim Benaissa examines the High Seas Treaty

Faculty of Law - Common Law Section
Common Law Section
Environmental law

By Common Law

Communication, Faculty of Law

humpback whale in ocean
In June 2023, the United Nations adopted the High Seas Treaty, an historic agreement designed to protect the biodiversity of the ocean, prevent environmental degradation and contribute to slowing the effects of climate change

The treaty is also known as “BBNJ” (Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction), a title that emphasizes the lack of state sovereignty or national jurisdiction in international waters. PhD candidate Monim Benaissa has authored a new blog on the BBNJ that highlights the importance of the new treaty.   

“The international community has long been aware of the importance of developing a binding legal instrument for the protection of marine biodiversity in maritime zones beyond national sovereignty, in order to fill a legal gap,” he writes. “The High Seas Treaty represents a major legal achievement in tackling today’s ocean challenges: climate change, the destruction of marine biodiversity and marine pollution. The treaty establishes a legal framework for expanding the scope of environmental protection to include international waters, equivalent to more than 60 percent of the world’s oceans.” 

Mr. Benaissa traces the main objectives of the Treaty, explains how it complements existing international law, namely the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and outlines the work that still needs to be done to promote the sustainable management of marine biodiversity in international waters. 

Click here to read “The High Seas Treaty: a Milestone in the Development of the Law of the Sea” on the International Law Blog