NOC comments on new High Seas Treaty

Alan Evans in the UK seat for the New York negotiations

Following reports on the signing of the High Seas Treaty, NOC’s Alan Evans Member of the UK Delegation at the negotiations, gave this comment.

“A critical outcome of the new Treaty is the ability to more readily realise the target of establishing 30% of the global ocean as marine protected areas (MPAs) by 2030. Prior to the Treaty there was no means for States to declare MPAs beyond their national jurisdiction. As such the new Treaty supports a holistic ocean governance framework as a means to implement the obligations to protect and preserve the marine environment as included in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).”  

“If you look at industries that could broaden their scope onto the High Seas, or new emerging opportunities, there was no mechanism in place to ensure robust oversight. The new Treaty now provides a framework where environmental risk assessments will have to take place and need to be inclusive by way of broad consultation with stakeholders. Such obligations will support the desire to conserve the inherent value of biodiversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction”

"This is a truly historic agreement that will strengthen governance of the world’s ocean. The new Treaty goes beyond enabling protection, it also provides the framework to manage the ocean and sustainably use its biological resources, furthermore, it addresses the imbalance of those who can and cannot contribute to management of the ocean by way of provisions that bring about equity such that every State can contribute to a truly global effort to better manage our one shared ocean.”

Alan is Head of Marine Policy and a Marine Science Policy Adviser at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, UK. He was a member of the UK Delegation at the BBNJ IGCs acting as a technical adviser to the UK Government, providing a sense check with regards to the practicalities of some of the issues that were being discussed as well as bringing in subject domain experts to address issues of a particular specialist nature.  

Given Alan’s involvement in capacity development initiatives, including use of UK Aid for ODA purposes, as a member of the ISA Endowment Fund for Capacity Building and as Chair of the IOC-UNESCO Group of Experts on Capacity Development his contributions focused more and more on the Capacity Building and the Transfer of Marine Technology Part (CBTMT), culminating in him sitting in the UK chair as negotiator during the small group sessions and the Informal Informals on CBTMT.


Watch: Alan Evans interviewed by Tom Heap on Sky's Daily Climate Show