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PH signs historic High Seas Treaty

Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Enrique Manalo has signed the first-ever international treaty on ocean protection as the Philippines joined the world in protecting marine biodiversity.

In a post on X (formerly Twitter), Manalo said Wednesday night he was “honored” to sign the historic 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 (BBNJ agreement).

Manalo is currently in New York for the UN General Assembly, scheduled bilateral talks and other related meetings.

“The Philippines is proud to take this step to protect the world’s oceans for present & future generations,” he said.

For about two decades, the Philippines had participated “with high hopes and inspiration” in the process of coming up with the agreement that is also known as the High Seas Treaty.

In June 2023, the United Nations adopted the BBNJ. With the UNCLOS as the “guidepost,” then DFA Undersecretary and now Philippine Permanent Representative to the UN Carlos Sorreta said, the member states approached the process with the following principles:

  • common heritage of mankind
  • fair and equitable sharing of benefits
  • rights and jurisdiction of adjacent coastal states
  • special recognition for archipelagic states
  • the precautionary principle, and
  • transparency of action and support

In a June statement, the DFA said the agreement was adopted by consensus and is consistent with the provisions of UNCLOS on protecting and preserving the marine environment.

It recognizes the need to address biological diversity loss and degradation of ocean ecosystems in a coherent and cooperative manner, DFA said.
The agreement also underscores the need for a comprehensive global regime, under UNCLOS, to better address conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity of areas beyond jurisdiction, it added.

— Joseph Pedrajas

Credit belongs to: www.mb.com.ph

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