UN - Adoption of a resolution to protect the high seas – Joint communiqué (10 January 2018)


On December 24, 2017, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 72/249 on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction.

Jean-Yves Le Drian, minister for Europe and foreign affairs, and Nicolas Hulot, minister for the ecological and inclusive transition, welcome the adoption of this resolution which enshrines 10 years of work by the international community on the sea and is in line with global commitments taken in 2017 to protect the marine environment.

This resolution will make it possible to begin negotiations in 2018 on the timely adoption of an international agreement to ensure the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in international waters. In particular, the agreement should allow for the establishment of marine protected areas in the high seas, environmental impact assessments, the establishment of a system for sharing the benefits of marine genetic resources in areas beyond national jurisdictions, and capacity building for countries of the South.

This decision acknowledges the need to consider the oceans a fragile environment whose protection is the responsibility of all, and which requires the adoption of universally binding rules. In particular, these measures must allow the ocean to continue playing its role as a global climate regulator. They must also guarantee a more sustainable management of the many resources offered by the ocean.

France has made the protection of marine biodiversity one of its foreign policy priorities, which it promotes in the negotiation of international agreements.