Palau Deposits First Instrument of Ratification for Marine Biodiversity Treaty

NEW YORK, 22 January (Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea) — On 22 January, the Permanent Representative of Palau handed over to the Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and United Nations Legal Counsel Palau’s instrument of ratification of 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 at United Nations Headquarters.  This is the first instrument of ratification for the Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction Agreement that has been deposited.

The recently adopted Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction Agreement is the third implementing agreement to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.  Under the overall objective of ensuring the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction, for the present and in the long term, through effective implementation of the relevant provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and further international cooperation and coordination, the Agreement sets out:  specific measures for the conservation and sustainable use of Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction; specific modalities to establish, implement and monitor those measures; and institutional arrangements to oversee the implementation of the Agreement and of these measures.

As the first comprehensive, cross-sectoral ocean treaty in decades since UNCLOS was adopted more than 40 years ago, the Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction Agreement has the potential to introduce more integrated, holistic approaches to the management of ocean activities.  Its effective and timely implementation can make crucial contributions to addressing the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution, as well as to achieving ocean-related goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.

Since opening for signature on 20 September 2023, 83 States and the European Union have signed the Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction Agreement (see Press Release SEA/2181 of 19 June 2023).  The Agreement will enter into force 120 days after the deposit of the sixtieth instrument of ratification, approval, acceptance or accession.  The Secretary-General is required to convene the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Agreement no later than one year after its entry into force.

At the adoption of the Agreement, the Secretary-General urged all States to spare no effort to ensure that the Agreement enters into force, called on them to act without delay to sign and ratify it as soon as possible and expressed readiness to help States make this happen.  On 16 January, principals of organizations participating in UN-Oceans endorsed a statement of commitments to strengthen and promote coordination and coherence of UN system activities in relation to the Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction Agreement, including in supporting States towards the ratification and implementation of the Agreement (see Press Release SEA/2191 of 18 January).

Information on the Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction Agreement is available at:

For information media. Not an official record.