Grey literature

High Seas Biodiversity Treaty Policy Brief

An Introduction to the Agreement under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction

This introductory brief's target audience is professionals from governments, civil society, private sector, and other stakeholders who know multilateral processes and treaties but are not “BBNJ (biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction) experts”. It is an easier read than the treaty itself.

The brief report draws on IUCN’s insight into the history and direction of the negotiations, showing what the different parts of the agreement were written to accomplish, what the key provisions are and how they work together, and what the important considerations will be in moving towards implementation, including suggested next steps.

Background: the BBNJ Treaty and its global importance

After almost two decades in the making, a third implementing 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 (also known as BBNJ) was formally adopted by consensus on 19 June 2023. It was subsequently opened for signature on 20 September 2023 during the 78th United Nations General Assembly.

"The significance of this undertaking cannot be overstated, marking a watershed moment in our collective commitment to safeguarding the health and vitality of our global ocean."

(Dr Grethel Aguilar Rojas, IUCN Director General)