FSM becomes first country to sign oceans treaty

FSM President, Wesley W Simina, signed the BBNJ Agreement at the UN Headquarters in New York, USA (Photo: Office of the President, FSM)

The Federated States of Micronesia has signed a global treaty that aim to protect oceans that lie beyond national boundaries, becoming the first country in the world to do so.

The new Biodiversity of Areas beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ) treaty, which was adopted in June, was signed by FSM President, Wesley W. Simina, at the United Nations General Assembly’s 78th session this week.

Pacific Oceans Commissioner, Dr Filimon Manoni, lauded this achievement, stating that the BBNJ treaty “gives us a legal tool to effectively collaborate to respect our ocean.”

“It recognises and upholds the special connection we have with our ocean, both within and beyond national borders.

“It recognises that we, as islanders, have interest in what is going on outside our borders.

“It also recognises that our communities who hold traditional knowledge have a role to play in the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, even beyond our borders.

The Pacific Oceans Commissioner also congratulated the governments of Palau, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Tuvalu, Samoa, Australia and New Zealand, who together with 70 countries, signed the agreement as well.

“There will need to be delivery of adequate funding, support for the development of capacity, including our science expertise, as well as transfer and development of technology to tackle the challenges we are faced with, as well as to support us in reaching our full potential.

“In the next few months, my office, the Office of the Pacific Ocean Commissioner, will be working with our regional organizations, the Pacific Ocean Alliance and partners to support our countries in ratifying and implementing the Agreement. Our efforts in that regard will contribute to the realization of the vision of the Blue Pacific Continent narrative and the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific.