Minister of Foreign Affairs accompanies President Boric at signing of BBNJ Agreement for the conservation of marine biodiversity
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alberto van Klaveren, partook of the signing of the Agreement on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Biodiversity beyond National Jurisdictions (BBNJ), alongside the President of the Republic, Gabriel Boric, and the Minister of the Environment, Maisa Rojas.
The agreement is open for subscription as of today, within the framework of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, after 10 years of negotiations. During that period, Chile played an active role, promoting ambitious objectives and adequate coordination with other regional and sectoral bodies that also have competence in the high seas.
"We believe this treaty is a crucial achievement for international law and for the protection of the ocean. Among other reasons, without BBNJ, it would be almost impossible to meet the 30x30 target of protecting at least 30% of all terrestrial and marine ecosystems by 2030," said the Minister.
BBNJ seeks, among other things, to strengthen ocean governance, create new policies for the conservation and sustainability of marine biodiversity, including marine protected areas on the high seas, as well as promote the sustainable use of marine genetic resources, and assess environmental impacts and equitable benefit sharing so that developing countries also can receive benefits.
Minister Maisa Rojas affirmed that "the BBNJ Treaty represents an important milestone in the protection of our oceans and their ecosystems. This international agreement promotes the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity beyond the jurisdictions of States, being a key step towards the preservation of our marine ecosystems and the responsible management of the oceans at a global level. Thanks to President Boric's signature today, we join the international community in promoting this treaty and call on all countries to commit to its effective implementation".
For the BBNJ to enter into force, it needs to be ratified by 60 nations. Many nations, including small island developing states and the European Union, have already pushed for this to happen as soon as possible.
That is why this morning the minister participated in a high-level breakfast meeting organized by Belgium, Blue Leaders and the BBNJ High Ambition Coalition, called "High Ambition for the High Seas".
In that event, the minister assured that, for Chile, the BBNJ Agreement "is an opportunity to protect key areas of the ocean, such as the Nazca Ridge, off the South American coast, which has one of the highest levels of endemism in the world and is a crucial area for the reproduction of species in the South Pacific". In line with Chile's foreign policy, which has given the ocean a high priority, the country submitted a proposal last March to host the BBNJ Secretariat in Valparaiso. This would expedite its implementation and also ensure that the management of the new structures for maritime conservation is based in the Global South.
The event, which was attended by several foreign affairs ministers, other high-level foreign authorities and civil society representatives, aimed to raise awareness of the importance and cross-cutting nature of the BBNJ Agreement, as well as to reach a declaration promoting its early adoption.