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Costa Rican Nonprofit Spearheads Open-Sea Conservation Treaty

Costa Rica January 16, 2017
Author: Wendy Anders

Representatives from nine South American countries met this month to discuss the conservation of marine biodiversity in the open ocean, said the Costa Rican non-profit marine conservation group MarViva Foundation.


Almost half the planet is covered by the high, or open seas, the waters found beyond countries’ territorial limits.

Despite their abundance, these vast areas have no legal regulatory framework for the conservation of important marine species, said MarViva.

A workshop organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chile and Fundación MarViva was held January 10 – 11 in Santiago, Chile to discuss and present a new international treaty within the United Nations framework.

The new treaty would provide a much-needed international instrument for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity beyond national jurisdictions.

The foreign ministries of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela attended the ground-breaking meeting, and exhibitors from Latin America, Europe and the U.S. discussed issues relevant to open-ocean conservation.

Marine protected areas, environmental impact assessments, capacity building, and the use of marine genetic resources are all topics that would help protect the whale, dolphin, turtle, tuna, shark, ray and other populations in the biodiverse waters surrounding South America, continued MarViva.

The Chilean Foreign Ministry reiterated their commitment to the treaty negotiation process and called for continued joint work.

Jorge A. Jiménez, general director of MarViva, stressed the importance of strengthening the process of preparing a draft of the agreement, and consolidating state and regional support and leadership for upcoming conferences on the topic in March and July.

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