United Nations wants a binding treaty to control the High Seas
Many countries are concerned that they will not be able to benefit from research on high seas species and thus lose access to new marine genetic resources.
No one disputes that protecting the oceans is vital for protecting biodiversity and preserving life in our planet.
Now, protecting the oceans is miles away from appropriating them.
As things stand today, ocean jurisdiction corresponds to national governments up to a few hundreds of kilometers away from their coasts. The rest belongs to no one, and it is recognized as international water.
Nowadays, there is not a binding treaty that regulates transit or use of international waters, and it is in such a lack of regulation that the United Nations wants to clamp its claws to claim property of the oceans.
It is not the first time the UN uses the “protection” argument to dispossess national governments from what it is theirs.
The same modus operandi is used with the land. Many national parks, conservation areas and world heritage sites around the world are now owned by the UN via agreements with those governments to preserve such places “for the good of humanity”.
Appropriating international waters is the goal of the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) that took place at the UN headquarters in New York from September 4 to 17.
September’s meeting was the first in a series of four sessions that will go until 2020. The gatherings aim to create a new “legally binding treaty to protect marine biodiversity” in areas beyond national jurisdiction.
Under this treaty, the United Nations would govern all maritime territory beyond 200 nautical miles of the coasts of any country, on a global basis; that is over two-thirds of the planet’s territory. ( blue area on the map).
There is no legitimate regulation of the high seas, although there are at least two international agreements under which the UN intended to take possession of international waters. One of them is the Law of the Sea Treaty, and the other is the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Both agreements, according to the UN, sought to safeguard biodiversity and natural resources such as oxygen generation and climate regulation.
The high seas cover over half of our planet and are vital to the functioning of the entire ocean and of all life on Earth, but no one single bureaucratic body should hold the oceans or its resources under its mandate.
The current system of governance of the high seas does not allocate power to any single political player, but motives abound for the UN and national governments to take over international waters or disputed waters beyond their maritime territory.
Issues such as climate change, overfishing, and pollution are always provided as reasons to take possession of natural resources, and that is also the case when it comes to governing international waters.
“This is a historic opportunity to protect the biodiversity and functions of the high seas through legally binding commitments,” said Peggy Kalas, coordinator of the High Seas Alliance, a group of more than 40 non-governmental organizations and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
How would allocating total control to those non-governmental organizations or the UN positively affect the ocean’s function of absorbing 90% of heat and 26% of alleged excess carbon dioxide?
According to bureaucrats and lobbyists, somehow “managing the added stress factors that are exerted on the oceans will increase their resilience to climate change and acidification”.
How would bureaucracy achieve that? How would that “managing” work?
Much if not all of the marine ecosystems located in international waters are neither explored or exploited by humans today, yet, the UN wants us to believe that it must gain control of the high seas to be able to regulate exploration and discovery.
“Since these are international waters, the necessary conservation measures can only be introduced through a global treaty,” said participants at the meeting.
Professor Alex Rogers of the University of Oxford, who has provided evidence to support the UN process towards a treaty, said:
“We are doing very little to safeguard or to protect life within the ocean, intrinsic to our collective survival. Protecting the biodiversity of the high seas, implementing good governance and law in the entire ocean, is without a doubt the most important thing we can do to change the course of the blue heart of our planet.”
What the UN wants to do is to create and control “Marine Protected Areas” and “Environmental Impact Assessments”.
Many countries are concerned that they will not be able to benefit from research on high seas species and thus lose access to new marine genetic resources of enormous potential reach, such as the discovery of marine genetic resources that could offer new nutraceutical uses.
That is how things work today at the UN. The most powerful military forces control the United Nations Security Council. They alone make all decisions concerning war and peace. Other nations are rotated as guest members and possess no power to vote on major issues.
Undoubtedly, new binding legislation to control the high seas and their resources would be no different. Access to some of the richest areas in the planet would be closed up and explored only by G7 members to their advantage, while little or no access would be given to emerging or poor nations.