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Why the UN’s High Seas Treaty matters


SINGAPORE, 25 April 2023: The new High Seas Treaty is a critical step in the right direction for our oceans and the planet, according to the latest blog from Travelyst, the not-for-profit sustainable travel organisation set up by Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex.

Photo credit: Travelyst

“It has taken nearly 20 years, but finally, there has been an agreement. Last month, United Nations member states agreed on the world’s first High Seas Treaty, which will enforce the pledge to protect 30% of the oceans by 2030 made at the UN Biodiversity Conference last December, a seismic shift towards safeguarding and regenerating our vital marine ecosystems.

“The treaty provides a legal framework to establish vast marine protected areas (MPAs) on the high seas – areas of the ocean that lie out of any single nation’s jurisdiction representing around two-thirds of the oceans – and equitably and sustainably share its genetic resources.

“Only 1.2% of these legally-defined ‘international waters’ are protected. That means that any marine life outside those areas is at risk from overfishing, shipping traffic, and exploration such as deep-sea mining, not to mention climate change.

“The importance of our oceans, which cover 70% of the Earth’s surface, can’t be underestimated: they produce half the oxygen we breathe, represent 95% of the Earth’s biosphere and are our largest carbon sink. The stark truth, however, is that much has already been disastrously overexploited.

“While the High Seas Treaty is a huge step in the right direction, what happens next – ratification by all signatory countries, followed by the hard work of implementation – is what matters. To secure healthy oceans for the next generation, we need a collaborative effort to protect our waters by governments, international bodies, industry and travellers.

“You can keep up with developments and updates with The High Seas Alliance’s Treaty Tracker, and The World Ocean Day website also features a range of resources, including a social media toolkit.”

For the  full report, visit

(Source: Travelyst)

Travalyst partners include Amadeus,, Expedia Group, Google, Skyscanner, Travelport, Group, Tripadvisor and Visa. They are part of a global network of changemakers, working together in a supportive, pre-competitive collaboration to create viable, visible sustainability solutions – and change the travel industry for good.

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