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Indonesia Pledges to Protect Marine Biodiversity in High Seas

Indonesia has just inked a global pact in which it pledges to protect marine biodiversity in the international high seas, which makes up almost two-thirds of the ocean, according to Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi.

The top diplomat is currently in New York to attend the 78th Session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly. The Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ) Treaty opened for signature at the UN headquarters on Wednesday.

As the name suggests, the BBNJ mandates signatories to conserve marine biodiversity in the high seas, namely the waters that lie outside national boundaries. This treaty will accept signatures until September 20, 2025. As many as 70 countries — including Indonesia — signed the treaty on the first day. 

“This treaty holds great importance for our country. Indonesia possesses one of the world’s longest coastlines. Whatever happens in the high seas and its surroundings will affect Indonesia because the sea is an interconnected ecosystem,” Retno said in a recorded message from New York on Wednesday local time.

Indonesia sees this treaty as crucial to help with the capacity-building of developing nations, particularly in the transfer of marine technologies, including biotech. The marine ecosystem conservation efforts as part of this pact are also expected to contribute to the achievement of the sustainable development goals (SDGs), according to Retno.

“This agreement reinforces the legal principles in the 1982 UNCLOS [UN Convention on the Law of the Sea], especially the principle of the common heritage of mankind,” Retno said while adding that Indonesia actively participated in the BBNJ Treaty’s negotiations that spanned two decades.

Indonesia also plans to work on the internal procedures for the treaty’s ratification immediately. Retno, however, did not give an exact timeframe of when Indonesia would ratify the pact.

News wire AFP via France24 reported that other nations that signed the BBNJ Treaty on Wednesday included the US and China.