The Global Ocean Commission welcomes¬†the new French initiative on the high seas, launched in Paris today¬†(Thursday 11th April).
The Commission, an independent, high-level panel that will recommend reforms to high seas governance and management, said the initiative would help to give ocean issues the importance they merit.
‚ÄòThere‚Äôs growing evidence that governance failures in international waters are having an impact on economics, food security, piracy, security and human rights, as well as on nature,‚Äô said Simon Reddy, the Global Ocean Commission‚Äôs Executive Secretary, a speaker at the launch event.
‚ÄòThere‚Äôs clearly huge public support for sustainable management of the high seas, but these issues have largely been ignored by governments because they are literally out of sight.
‚ÄòThe Commission is determined to change that, because the high seas are humanity‚Äôs future; at our meeting last month, Commissioners¬†emphasised the importance of engagement across all sectors of society, so we welcome the French initiative for its prescience and vision in issuing a call for action on the high seas.‚Äô
The ‚ÄòParis Call for the High Seas‚Äô will be launched at the end of a multi-stakeholder conference on ‚ÄòThe High Seas ‚Äì Our Future‚Äô, organised with the support and participation of the French Government.
The high seas, which lie beyond countries‚Äô national waters, constitute almost half of the planet‚Äôs surface. They¬†sit under a governance regime¬†that has not evolved in response to modern scientific understanding of factors such as climate change and overfishing, or to rapid advances in extractive technologies.
An international opinion survey released by the Commission last month¬†showed overwhelming public support for sustainable management of the global ocean. Eighty-five percent of respondents in 13 countries said governments should take the needs of future generations into account when deciding how to manage the high seas, with only 5% opposed.
The Global Ocean Commission, jointly chaired by former Costa Rican President¬†Jos√© Mar√≠a Figueres, South African Minister¬†Trevor Manuel¬†and former UK Foreign Secretary¬†David Miliband, will issue a set of recommendations for reform in the first half of 2014.
Later that year, the UN General Assembly is due to begin discussions on conserving biodiversity in the high seas ‚Äì¬†a decision made at the Rio+20 summit last year.