High Seas Conference Concludes with Paris Appeal

11 April 2013: The "High Seas, Our Future!" conference, which took place in Paris, France, concluded with the launch of the "Paris Appeal for the High Seas" stressing the importance of governance of the high seas, in the run up to negotiations on this topic in 2014.

Addressing the conference, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on world leaders to take stronger action to protect the world's oceans, noting the economic and environmental impacts of pollution, unsustainable exploitation, climate change and acidification.

Irina Bokova, Director General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), stressed the need for further scientific research, underscoring the potential value of the biodiversity of the high seas. She also urged strengthening capacities in developing countries and technology transfer to ensure the protection, as well as the equitable and sustainable use of resources.

Consensus emerged among participants on the need to increase funding for fundamental research, to better understand the ocean and inform governance.

UNESCO underlined that inadequate governance is likely to affect the conservation and sustainable use of marine resources, and that the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20) outcome document recognizes the need, “to address, on an urgent basis, the issue of the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction.”

At the end of the day, members of the steering committee launched the 'Paris Appeal for the High Seas,' which is open to signature for the general public, and will be presented to relevant institutions, including the UN General Assembly (UNGA), in an appeal for a “shared, transparent, democratic, international governance.”

The Conference was organized by the Economic, Social and Environmental Council (CESE, France) and Tara Expéditions under the patronage of UNESCO. [The High Seas, Our Future Conference Website] [UN Press Release] [UN Secretary-General's Statement] [Paris Appeal] [UNESCO Director-General's Statement] [UNESCO Press Release]