Morocco, represented by Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Omar Hilal, signed the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, relating to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity in areas beyond the limits of national jurisdiction (the high seas).
The agreement was signed yesterday, Thursday, at the headquarters of the international organization in New York, during a ceremony organized on the sidelines of the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly.
Morocco thus became the 75th country to sign this legally binding treaty, the culmination of 18 years of multilateral negotiations. The agreement enters into force after its ratification by 60 countries.
Throughout the course of the negotiations, Morocco assumed a leadership position, as it represented the African Group and contributed fundamentally to the international consensus that culminated in the adoption of this agreement.
This historic global treaty represents a decisive turning point in the international law of the sea, as it provides for the development of tools for innovative and ambitious management aimed at preserving marine biological diversity and its sustainable, rational and equitable use, such as environmental impact studies and marine protected areas.
It is noteworthy that the agreement relates to the protection of areas located outside the territorial waters or exclusive economic zone of coastal countries. Thus, it allows work in marine areas located on the high seas and in international waters that do not fall within the jurisdiction of national jurisdiction.
The high seas represent more than 60 percent of the ocean area, and about half of the Earth’s surface area. This vast space did not enjoy specific protection before the adoption of this global legal framework, which exposed it to increasing pressures due to human activities, pollution, overexploitation of resources, climate change, as well as the disappearance of biodiversity.
This treaty is of utmost importance because the high seas are home to marine genetic resources and rich biological diversity, about which knowledge is still limited, and it has invaluable value at the ecological, economic, social, cultural, scientific and social levels, as well as food security.