Historic Achievement: Belize Ratifies UN Ocean Biodiversity Agreement

Historic Achievement: Belize Ratifies UN Ocean Biodiversity Agreement

Belize has made history by being the first Caribbean nation to officially ratify the groundbreaking ocean biodiversity agreement under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Biological Diversity of Areas beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ Agreement).  The treaty was ratified yesterday during the Senate meeting, presented by the Senator for Government Business, Eamon Courtenay.

Eamon Courtenay, Leader of Government Business: “Madam President the government of Prime Minister Briceno is particularly proud that we have been asked to approve the ratification of this treaty. Belize and in particular our Ministry of Foreign Affairs in person of Ambassadors Carlos Fuller and Ambassador Janine Coye Felsen and the CEO and experts from the Ministry of Sustainable Development and the support of the NGO sector played a leading role in reaching the conclusion of the treaty in New York last year. And so we want to salute them for their efforts and commend their approval to the Senate.”

President of the Senate: “I recognize Senator Janelle Chanona.”

Janelle Chanona, Senator: “Good morning. We rise in support of the ratification of the treaty, particularly endorsing the approach for informed decision making around the use of our marine resources and having that set the benchmark for high seas as well. Thank you.”

Eamon Courtenay, Leader of Government Business: “Madam President, I thank Senator Chanona for her support and I ask that the question be put.”

President of the Senate: “Honorable members, that motion is referred to the Constitution and Foreign Affairs Committee for examination, consideration and report.”

According to the government, the treaty is a global commitment to safeguard 30 percent of the ocean by 2030 which relies heavily on the implementation of the United Nations Biodiversity of Areas beyond National Jurisdiction Treaty, also known as the BBNJ agreement, which spans two-thirds of the world’s oceans. This agreement is designed to promote the conservation and sustainable utilization of marine biodiversity, presenting opportunities for deep-sea research, capacity building, and the development and transfer of marine technology, particularly beneficial for small developing countries like Belize.  A release from the government notes that Belize’s ratification now sets the pace for the Caribbean’s engagement. Love News understands that Belize is actively collaborating with other Caribbean Community member states to raise awareness and build momentum for regional participation. A workshop in the Caribbean is scheduled for April 11 to 12, 2024, to further bolster the region’s efforts towards ratification, with Belize also slated to host a Caribbean BBNJ workshop later in the year.

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