The Cabinet has recommended seeking parliamentary approval for the Maldives to sign the ‘Agreement under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Biological Diversity of Areas beyond National Jurisdiction’ (BBNJ Treaty). The decision was made at the cabinet meeting held Sunday, according to the President’s Office.

The BBNJ Treaty, a landmark global initiative, aims to safeguard the biological diversity of marine ecosystems in the high seas, areas beyond any national jurisdiction. The treaty’s objective is to ensure the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction, both now and in the future.

This will be achieved by effectively implementing the relevant provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and by further international cooperation and coordination. The treaty additionally represents a significant global endeavour to safeguard marine ecosystems within the High Sea. Given the status of the Maldives as a small island nation, active participation in such a treaty is seen as imperative for the protection and sustainable management of maritime domains.

The BBNJ Treaty is a legally binding instrument adopted by consensus at the Intergovernmental Conference on Marine Biodiversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction on 19 June 2023. The treaty seeks to establish a coordinated approach to creating marine protected areas on the high seas. This is critical to conserving ocean biodiversity and achieving the global community’s “30×30” target to preserve or protect at least 30 percent of the ocean by 2030. To date, the BBNJ Treaty has been signed by 83 nations, demonstrating a strong global commitment to marine conservation.

The administration of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, on 14 November 2023, also initiated the process of seeking parliamentary approval for the Maldives to join the BBNJ Treaty.