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UN Monaco confirms its commitment to conserving marine biodiversity on the high seas


Press release

On Thursday 9th May 2024, the Principality became the first European and Mediterranean State to ratify the Agreement on the High Seas1 known as the ‘BBNJ Agreement’, when H.E. Mrs Isabelle Picco, Monaco's Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN), handed over the instrument of ratification to the Head of the Organisation's Treaty Section, following the signature of the Agreement by H.S.H. the Sovereign Prince on the first day it was opened for signature, on 20th September 2023, in New York.

The BBNJ Agreement, which complements the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, aims to protect, restore and ensure the sustainable use of the marine environment, maintain the integrity of ocean ecosystems and conserve the inherent value of biological diversity, for example through the creation of marine protected areas on the high seas. The negotiation process has lasted almost 20 years and Monaco has played an active role at every stage, since the creation of an informal working group (2004-2015). 

The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, known as ‘Rio +20’, prior to which the Principality hosted a preparatory workshop on the sustainability of the Ocean, was an important step in speeding up the work. Monaco's contribution and the proposals made during the sessions of the Preparatory Committee (2016-2017) and the Intergovernmental Conference responsible for drafting the text of the Agreement (2018-2023) were unanimously welcomed and the result obtained is a victory for multilateralism.
To date, the text has been ratified by five countries (Palau, Chile, Belize, Seychelles and the Principality of Monaco). The steps currently being taken give reason to hope that the fifty-five ratifications still needed for it to come into force could be deposited with the UN in the coming months.

H.E. Mrs Isabelle Picco, Permanent Representative of Monaco to the UN, presents the Instrument of Ratification to the Head of the UN Treaty Section, Mr David Nanopoulos, on 9 May 2024. ©UN