Chile has become the first country to ratify the United Nations’ historic high seas treaty.
Chile’s Senate on Tuesday unanimously approved the ground-breaking conservation agreement, officially known as the Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction Treaty (BBNJ).
The agreement lays out a procedure to establish large-scale marine protected areas in the high seas, which cover almost two-thirds of the world’s oceans. It aims to reach the target of conserving 30% of land and sea by 2030, as agreed by UN member states within the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework in December 2022.
Chile was among the states that showed a strong political commitment to adopt the treaty while it was still under discussion, and President Gabriel Boric proposed the port city of Valparaíso, outside Santiago, as the candidate to host the Treaty Secretariat.
Chile Foreign Minister, Alberto van Klaveren, said the country’s ratification of the treaty confirmed its strong focus on the oceans.
Greenpeace International welcomed the move to ratify the treaty.
“Chile has been a key country during all the years of negotiating this treaty. This is an achievement for the thousands of Chileans who called for the protection of oceans. We congratulate the action of the congress,” said Estefanía González, deputy director of Greenpeace Chile campaigns.
A total of 59 other countries must still ratify the treaty by 2025 for it to come into effect.
Governments formally adopted the BBNJ treaty in June 2023, and it was signed in September as the first step before individual country ratification.