IUCN’s President, Valli Moosa, will this Tuesday launch 10 Principles for modern high seas governance and challenge international experts to find new ways to implement them. The 10 Principles reflect fundamental principles that nations have agreed to in various treaties and declarations but have largely failed to implement on the nearly 50% of the planet that lies beyond individual nation’s jurisdiction.
For centuries we have treated the high seas as open and free to all nations, but the responsibility of none. As a result, high seas fish stocks are plummeting, biodiversity losses are mounting, and now climate change brings new threats that can tip the balance away from ocean health and resilience. Discussions to improve the governance of the high seas have gained momentum in recent years, and have reached the highest levels at the United Nations. However, progress is painfully slow. Too often, the debate focuses on issues where nations differ rather than on actions that all nations can agree to. These principles are designed to stimulate progress by identifying common guidelines for action. They reflect the results of an electronic consultation conducted by IUCN's Global Marine Programme.