In a momentous occasion held within the halls of the United Nations building on Wednesday, September 20th, Fiji proudly stood as one of the first nations to sign the groundbreaking “Agreement under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Biological Diversity of Areas beyond National Jurisdiction,” colloquially known as the BBNJ Treaty.
This historic event, often referred to as the “High Seas Treaty,” marks a significant step towards the protection and sustainable utilization of marine resources beyond national maritime boundaries, encompassing the vast expanse known as the high seas, which constitute nearly two-thirds of the world’s oceans.
The BBNJ Treaty signing by Fiji signifies the government’s unwavering dedication to ocean conservation and the responsible management of marine resources. Having been the first country to sign and ratify UNCLOS in 1982, Fiji continues to lead by example on the global stage in matters of ocean governance.
The objectives of this signing event extend beyond mere ceremony.
Fiji’s participation aims to expedite the ratification process of the BBNJ Treaty, with the ultimate goal of achieving its entry into force.
A minimum of 60 countries must ratify the Treaty to trigger its implementation.
This treaty is designed to enhance international cooperation and coordination among stakeholders to safeguard the ecological integrity and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction.
Key issues of particular relevance to Fiji and the Pacific region within the framework of the BBNJ Treaty include addressing the unique circumstances of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), recognizing the essential role of traditional knowledge, indigenous peoples, and local communities, ensuring fair and equitable sharing of benefits derived from access to and utilization of marine genetic resources, and promoting capacity building and technology transfer.
This momentous event signifies Fiji’s enduring commitment to preserving our oceans, fostering international collaboration, and securing a sustainable future for our marine ecosystems.
By signing the BBNJ Treaty, Fiji reaffirms its position as a global leader in marine conservation and environmental stewardship.