Country backs landmark deal on marine biodiversity at UNGA

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Accompanying Minister Chet Greene to the signing was First Secretary at the Antigua and Barbuda Mission to the United Nations, Asha Challenger (Photo contributed)
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Antigua and Barbuda is among signatories to a landmark agreement on marine biodiversity 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 Chet Greene added his signature to the agreement, committing the twin island nation to the principles laid out in the Biodiversity Behind National Jurisdictions – or BBNJ – Treaty.

It was a ground-breaking 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 come into force. Antigua and Barbuda was among more than 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 said.

“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, Asha Challenger, a key figure in the 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 to end plastic pollution around the world.

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