It’s been just over a week since the global community made history with the new, long over due High Seas Treaty designed to protect life in our global ocean.
The High Seas make up almost half of our planet yet until now they have not been afforded any comprehensive protection against the increasing onslaught of human activity. With the climate and biodiversity crises worsening this treaty comes not a moment too soon. Among other provisions, The High Seas Treaty paves the way for the creation of protected areas at sea and will make it harder for ecocidal industries such as deep-sea mining in international waters to go ahead. However it will still take several years for this treaty to come in to force. We must push our leaders to ratify this new treaty swiftly and make it clear that any attempt to rush open the deep-sea to the reckless exploitation of minerals will undermine the treaty before it even gets underway.
Despite being such a dominant part of our biosphere, the High Seas are often overlooked. Much of my own work over these past 20 years has been dedicated to exposing destructive and unregulated practices on the High Seas, from fisheries to human rights abuse and now the looming disaster of deep-sea mining. Despite my and everyone else’s best efforts, it remains a difficult task to impress upon people the importance of the High Seas to every living being on Earth.
Since the negotiations formally began in 2018, I have used my platform to raise the significance of this treaty including the importance of lifting the feminine perspective* in these negotiations. I had the privilege to attend the treaty negotiations at the UN headquarters on two separate occasions: In 2019 for the third** meeting of governments for this treaty as well as these final negotiations.
It has taken almost two decades of campaigning by brilliant and passionate activists around the world to reach this momentous agreement. The outcome really is testimony of collective action. Not just of multilateralism by governments but also of coalitions of people and organisations everywhere fighting for a singular cause. These past few weeks have reminded me of how necessary it is to work together for a common goal. I am proud to say that Women4Oceans is a member of the High Seas Alliance (HSA).*** An alliance made up of some of the most excellent (and fun) minds in ocean governance. Change is possible when we work together.
Thank you to everyone who made the culmination of this treaty memorable. I am in awe of your brilliance and dedication. I look forward to working with you all to ensure this treaty translates into real protection on the water. - Farah Obaidullah
#highseastreaty #women4oceans #together4oceans #theoceanandus #ocean #conservation