Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Towards better protection of the High Seas

At a workshop with Federal Minister of the Environment Peter Altmaier on 20 -21 March 2013, leading international scientists and high-ranking representatives of policy, NGOs and international organizations developed strategies for better protection of the oceans.

In front of more than 40 leading international experts in marine environmental protection, Federal Minister of the Environment Peter Altmaier called for the adoption of a new international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of the high seas.

Until now there has been no effective legal instrument for governing the protection and sustainable use of almost two-thirds of the oceans. At the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro (“Rio+20”) heads of State and government agreed on the urgent need for improved protection of this global commons. “By 2014 at the latest we must begin negotiating this treaty”, said Altmaier.

This instrument would give the existing Convention on the Law of the Sea increased power in the field of marine environmental protection. Beyond this, intensified dialogue between policy and science is necessary, the Minister said at the workshop jointly organized by the Potsdam Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) and the French Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI). Minister Altmaier thanked both institutes for playing a critical role in the dialogue between science and policy.

“We must understand the urgency for action and work with our partners and civil society to make this a global commitment”, said France’s Ambassador for the Environment, Jean-Pierre Thébault.

Elements of the new treaty developed at the workshop include the following topics:

• A legal framework for creating marine protected areas in the high seas
• Obligations to perform environmental impact assessment
• Technology transfer and capacity-building in developing countries, as well as
• Fair use of marine genetic resources.

„Rio+20 last year made clear that the international community has reached a turning point on marine environmental protection and has finally securely anchored the protection of the oceans on the political agenda. 20 years after the Law of the Sea Convention entered into force, it is imperative that negotiations for its progressive development are taken up urgently and brought to a successful conclusion. The development of a new, binding treaty does not relieve us of the responsibility to further develop existing conventions and organizations”, said IASS Executive Director Klaus Töpfer.

Specific strategies alongside the creation of a new international treaty include:

Common principles for the protection and sustainable use of biological diversity in the high seas should be adopted. These could be based on existing principles of international environmental law such as the precautionary principle and unbureaucratically endorsed in the framework on a UN resolution.
• Existing treaties should be progressively developed, e.g. for fisheries, navigation and deep-sea mining – improved coordination among existing instruments and organizations is essential to this end.
• Regional conventions for the protection of the marine environment and the establishment of protected areas on the high seas should be expanded – an initial network of protected areas was already established in 2010 in the Northeast Atlantic. This model could be applied to other areas, for example in Antarctica.

The workshop’s findings will be further developed with partners in the academic community, politics and NGOs and included in UN-level negotiations.

„Now we need to engage with other countries and civil society to deliver the aspirations form Rio+20“, said IDDRI Director Professor Laurence Tubiana, bringing the workshop to a close.

Researchers at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) Potsdam engage in transdisciplinary international research on climate change, earth systems science and sustainability. Supported by the Federal Ministry for Education and Research and the State of Brandenburg, the goal of the think tank is to actively promote dialogue on emerging global issues in the public and private sectors, as well as civil society.

The Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI) is a Paris and Brussels based non-profit policy research institute. Its objective is to develop and share key knowledge and tools for analyzing and shedding light on the strategic issues of sustainable development from a global perspective. Given the rising stakes of the issues posed by climate change and biodiversity loss, IDDRI provides stakeholders with input for their reflection on global governance, and also participates in work on reframing development pathways.

Sebastian Unger (IASS), Scientific Coordinator:
Jeff Ardron (IASS), Senior Fellow:
Elisabeth Druel (IDDRI), Research Fellow:
Julien Rochette (IDDRI), Research Fellow:

Corina Weber | idw
Further information:

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Ice shelf vibrations cause unusual waves in Antarctic atmosphere
25.10.2016 | American Geophysical Union

nachricht Enormous dome in central Andes driven by huge magma body beneath it
25.10.2016 | University of California - Santa Cruz

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Ice shelf vibrations cause unusual waves in Antarctic atmosphere

25.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

Fluorescent holography: Upending the world of biological imaging

25.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Etching Microstructures with Lasers

25.10.2016 | Process Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>