This month, delegations from around the world agreed upon a treaty to protect biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction — ocean life beyond the limit of any country’s borders. The High Seas Treaty represents the culmination of over 2 decades of debate and negotiation. Once adopted, it establishes a framework for the protection and equitable sharing of marine genetic resources — animals and their DNA; promotes the implementation of marine protected areas in the high seas; and creates a scientific and technical body to review environmental impact assessments for ocean activities beyond borders.
While this treaty is a monumental achievement for protecting the common heritage of humankind, it still leaves several loopholes for ocean exploitation. Chief among them is the exemption of deep-sea mining from the final regulations.