Antigua and Barbuda signs landmark ocean protection treaty at the United Nations
NEW YORK, 24th September, 2023…Antigua and Barbuda has joined several countries around the world as the first signatories to a landmark agreement on marine biodiversity in the high seas, which allows for the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans.
During the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade the Hon. EP Chet Greene added his signature to the agreement, committing Antigua and Barbuda to the principles laid out in what is known as the Biodiversity Behind National Jurisdictions or BBNJ Treaty.
The ceremony represented a groundbreaking moment for Antigua and Barbuda as the signing comes after nearly two decades of talks that culminated last June when governments adopted the internationally legally binding instrument.
The agreement required 60 ratifications to go into force and thanks to Minister Greene, who was among Antigua and Barbuda’s high level delegation attending the UN General Assembly, this country can be counted among the well over 80 nations that signed as the first step towards ratification.
“This was indeed a proud and seminal moment for me personally and for Antigua and Barbuda. We have no control over the vastness of the ocean or the actions of others who use it to dump their waste,” Minister Greene pointed out.
“In the BBNJ Treaty we now have a legal framework on which small island nations like Antigua and Barbuda can rely on in protecting our fragile marine space from what enters it from well beyond our borders. It is indeed fulfilling that as a nation we were able to be a part of such an important process in getting us to this day,” the Minister remarked.
Accompanying Minister Greene to the signing was First Secretary at the Antigua and Barbuda Mission to the United Nations, Ms. Asha Challenger, a key figure in this country’s efforts to impact the global effort to protect the oceans.
Challenger serves as Vice President of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Plastic Pollution, which is also seeking to develop a binding legal agreement that will see to the end of plastic pollution around the world.
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