Antigua and Barbuda has become one of the first signatories to a historic agreement on marine biodiversity in the high seas, joining several other countries worldwide.
This agreement allows for the preservation and sustainable use of oceans. During the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly, EP Chet Greene, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, signed the Biodiversity Behind National Jurisdictions (BBNJ) Treaty, which outlines the principles that Antigua and Barbuda have committed to.
This landmark moment for Antigua and Barbuda follows almost twenty years of negotiations that culminated in June 2021, with the adoption of the internationally legally binding instrument.
The BBNJ Treaty required 60 ratifications to take effect, and Antigua and Barbuda is among the over 80 nations that have signed it as the first step towards ratification.
Minister Greene expressed his pride and the significance of this moment for Antigua and Barbuda.
He emphasized that the country has no power over the vastness of the ocean or the actions of those who use it to dispose of their waste.
However, with the BBNJ Treaty, Antigua and Barbuda now has a legal framework to protect its fragile marine space from pollution that enters it from well beyond its borders.
The Minister remarked that it is fulfilling for the country to be part of such an important process that led to this day.
Ms. Asha Challenger, First Secretary at the Antigua and Barbuda Mission to the United Nations, accompanied Minister Greene to the signing.
She is a key figure in Antigua and Barbuda’s efforts to impact the global initiative to protect the oceans.
Challenger is also the Vice President of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Plastic Pollution, which aims to create a binding legal agreement to end plastic pollution worldwide.