Fiji’s Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka says Fiji is a party to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), being the first country to sign the Convention in 1982, in Jamaica.

The Prime Minister while responding to a question in Parliament on the benefit of signing the Marine Biodiversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction(BBNJ) Treaty, Rabuka said the BBNJ Treaty falls under UNCLOS and as both instruments are aimed at conserving and sustainably managing our oceans and its resources, both within national jurisdiction and now in areas beyond national jurisdiction, it is critical that Fiji sign and ratify the Treaty.

Rabuka said it also helps to protect vulnerable ecosystems and species, the BBNJ Treaty is also consistent with the diplomatic, economic and social interests of States, including Fiji.

He said the BBNJ Treaty offers States an opportunity to strengthen multilateral diplomatic institutions and promote international cooperation towards global conservation efforts.

“The treaty clearly establishes core obligations and principles for high seas conservation and sustainable management through the BBNJ Treaty that will advance global collaboration around common goals, including revitalising efforts to meet the SDGs.”

He added that while differing priorities and power imbalances have historically hindered progress towards meeting global targets, a strong BBNJ Treaty will mitigate many challenges and inefficiencies inherent in the current regional and sector-based governance regime by creating a platform for working towards more cohesive integrated management.