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High Seas, What’s at Stake?

21 June 2018 | Paris, France

Highlights for Thursday, 21 June 2018

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Round-Table 1: Why We Must Act Now?

High Seas Alliance ‘The High Seas, What’s at Stake?’ took place at the Maison des Océans, Oceanographic Institute in Paris, France, on 21 June 2018.
The conference was convened by the The High Seas Alliance and organized jointly by the Albert I Prince of Monaco Foundation, the Albert II of Monaco Foundation, the Tara Foundation, the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI) and Nausicaa, with support from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the Pew Charitable Trusts. The event was managed by The Varda Group.

Participants addressed the importance of the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ), diverging views on the protection of BBNJ, and expectations for the negotiations of an international legally binding instrument (ILBI) for the conservation and sustainable use of BBNJ, scheduled to begin in September 2018 and expected to continue until at least 2020.

The conference featured three round-tables titled: Why we must act now?; What obstacles must be removed?; and What can we expect from negotiations in New York?.

The one-day event concluded with the participation of France’s State Secretary for the Environment Brune Poirson. In her address she emphasized the importance of positive partnerships in tapping into the potential of oceans, and the need to act quickly and at a large scale as threats to high seas ecosystems become more urgent. She stressed that by 2050, plastic pollution will overtake fish stocks, and that other pressures such as sea level rise and ocean acidification represent threats for biodiversity and for humans. Highlighting the unprecedented opportunity to achieve a BBNJ agreement by the end of 2020, Poirson called on participants to pressure negotiators and decision-makers into increasing momentum and leadership, and highlighted France’s efforts in oceans conservation, including limiting waste from reaching the ocean and halting the use of single-use plastics packaging. She said that France would work ‘hand-in-hand’ with negotiators to establish a successful treaty for the high seas.

IISD Reporting Services, through its ENB+ Meeting Coverage, has provided a summary report from the meeting “High Seas, What’s at Stake?,” which is avilable in HTML and PDF.


Peter Thomson, Special Envoy for the Ocean of the UN Secretary-General

Serge Ségura, French Ambassador for Ocean Affairs

(L-R): Julien Rochette, Director, Ocean Programme, IDDRI; Rashid Sumaila, Director, Fisheries Economics Research Unit, University of British Columbia; Françoise Gaill, Scientific Director, Ocean & Climate Platform; and Joachim Claudet, Researcher, National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS)

(L-R): Romain Troublé, CEO, Tara Foundation; Andreas Papaconstantinou, Head of Unit, Ocean Governance, Law of the Sea, Arctic Policy, DG MARE, European Commission; Anca Leroy, Ministry of Ecological and Inclusive Transition, France; Tidiani Couma, Secretary of External Relations, Department of External Relations and Cooperation, Government of Monaco; and Pierre Boussaroque, Deputy Director, Legal Affairs, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, France

(L-R): Rémi Parmentier, The Varda Group; Kristina Gjerde, High Seas Policy Advisor, IUCN; Elie Jarmache, Advisor to the President of the French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea (IFREMER); Eden Charles, Former Ambassador of Trinidad & Tobago to the UN; and Christine Valentin, Chief Operating Officer, World Ocean Council

Brune Poirson, Secretary of State to the Minister for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition, France

Peggy Kalas, Coordinator, High Seas Alliance

Specific funding for coverage of the meeting “High Seas, What’s at Stake?” has been provided by the The High Seas Alliance

The Varda Group