Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

India to ratify High Seas Treaty


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: What is the High Seas Treaty?

Mains level: Comparison with the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change

Why in the News? 

India has chosen to endorse and formally adopt the High Seas Treaty, a global accord aimed at conserving and safeguarding biodiversity in the oceans.

  • This treaty is frequently linked to the 2015 Paris Agreement due to its extensive scope and potential influence.

What is the ‘High Seas Treaty’ agreement?

  • The agreement being referred to is the Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ) Agreement, also known as the High Seas Treaty.
  • Aim: To address the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction, which constitute about 64% of the ocean surface.
  • Objective:  To establish a framework for governing activities in these high seas areas to ensure environmental protection, regulate resource extraction, and promote equitable sharing of benefits from marine genetic resources.
    • It operates within the framework of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and aims to strengthen international cooperation and governance for the preservation of marine biodiversity.

Significance of the Treaty:

  • Conservation of Marine Biodiversity: It covers a vast portion of the global ocean- these areas are crucial for maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem functions that are vital for global marine health.
  • Governance and Regulation: The treaty establishes a framework for governing human activities in the high seas, such as fishing, mining, and bioprospecting. It seeks to regulate these activities to ensure they are sustainable and do not cause irreversible harm to marine ecosystems.
  • Global Environmental Protection: Similar to the Paris Agreement on climate change, the BBNJ Agreement represents a global effort to protect and manage resources that are essential for the well-being of present and future generations.
    • Addressing threats like overfishing and habitat destruction, it contributes to global efforts towards sustainable development and environmental conservation.
  • Equitable Sharing of Benefits: The treaty includes provisions such as pharmaceutical developments. This ensures that benefits derived from these resources are shared fairly among countries and communities, promoting global equity and access to valuable resources.
  • International Collaboration: It fosters international cooperation and collaboration in ocean governance.
    • By bringing together countries it strengthens the rule of law and promotes transparency and accountability in global ocean management.

Comparison with the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change

Dimensions  High Seas Treaty- Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ) 2015 Paris Agreement 
Scope and Focus Marine biodiversity conservation in the case of BBNJ Focuses on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate impacts
Legal Framework It integrates with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) Paris Agreement operates under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Approach to Governance Promotes governance structures that facilitate cooperation among nations to achieve common environmental goals. same
Implications for Global Cooperation Underscore the importance of multilateralism and collective action in addressing global environmental challenges. same


Conclusion: Need to establish robust mechanisms for implementing and monitoring the BBNJ Agreement at national and international levels. This includes setting up effective reporting systems, conducting regular assessments of biodiversity conservation measures, and ensuring compliance with regulations on resource extraction and marine genetic resources.

Mains PYQ: 

Q Describe the major outcomes of the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). What are the commitments made by India in this conference? (UPSC IAS/2021)

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments


Join us across Social Media platforms.

💥Mentorship New Batch Launch
💥Mentorship New Batch Launch