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High Seas Treaty 2023: Implications for Hotels and Resorts Near the Oceans

Updated: Mar 13

Intergovernmental Conference on an international legally binding instrument under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. This instrument will be related to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction.

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea treaty, aims to protect the biodiversity of the high seas, which are areas beyond national jurisdiction that cover about two-thirds of the world's oceans. These areas are currently subject to very little regulation, which has led to overfishing, pollution, and other threats to marine life. This historic treaty establishes rules for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity.

Secretary-General António Guterres has congratulated UN member countries for finalizing a text to ensure the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction, calling it a “breakthrough” after nearly two decades of talks. -United Nations

It includes provisions for the creation of marine protected areas and for the regulation of activities such as fishing and deep-sea mining. It also provides for the sharing of benefits from the use of marine genetic resources, such as medicines derived from marine organisms.

The treaty is a major achievement in international cooperation and is expected to have a significant impact on the health of the world's oceans. However, it will need to be ratified by a sufficient number of countries before it can come into force.

The Secretary-General commends delegates for finalizing a text to ensure the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction.

Hotel Resorts

There are some potential indirect impacts that hotels and resorts may experience as a result of the treaty. For example:

  1. Changes in tourism activities: The treaty may lead to enhanced regulations on ocean tourism activities, such as whale watching, snorkeling, and scuba diving. This could impact the types of activities that hotels and resorts offer to their guests. On the other hand, conservation activities that help to protect marine resources might resurge as a result.

  2. Increased focus on sustainability: The treaty highlights the importance of sustainable ocean practices, which may lead to increased scrutiny of hotels and resorts that operate near the high seas. This could push hotels and resorts to adopt sustainable practices to meet consumer and regulatory demands. Additionally, the recently-approved European regulations Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS 3) include a great deal of disclosure on water and marine resources.

  3. Changes in food sourcing: The treaty may also impact the availability and sourcing of seafood for hotels and resorts. Regulations on fishing practices on the high seas could lead to changes in the types and quantities of seafood available for hotels and resorts to serve their guests.

  4. Local Communities: Communities that rely on ocean-related activities. Local communities around the world rely on ocean-related tourism activities to support their livelihoods and economies. From small fishing villages to coastal cities, tourism provides a significant source of income and employment for millions of people. It provides jobs for community residents, supports small businesses such as restaurants and hotels, and generates income that can be reinvested in the area's economy. In some areas, such as remote island states, ocean-related tourism may be the primary source of income for the entire community.

Overall, the impact of the oceans treaty on hotels and resorts may be indirect and will largely depend on how the regulations and guidelines are implemented and enforced. However, the treaty represents a significant step forward in protecting the health and biodiversity of the world's oceans. In order to ensure thriving destinations and communities, this is a positive development.

Countries now have to formally adopt and ratify the treaty. Then the work will start to implement the marine sanctuaries and to attempt to meet the target of protecting 30% of global oceans by 2030.

The BBNJ conference brings together representatives from countries around the world to negotiate and develop a legally binding treaty that will fill the gaps in current laws and regulations. This will enable the protection and sustainable use of marine biological diversity on the high seas.


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Maribel Esparcia Pérez

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