New Brunswick, N.J. (Oct. 16, 2019) – Rutgers University environmental law expert Cymie R. Payne is available to comment on a proposed international treaty aimed at conserving high seas biodiversity. The treaty, which is under negotiations at the United Nations, could help protect ocean life in the face of climate change and other impacts from human activities.
Last month, the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere that documented numerous threats to oceans, sea life and people who rely on ocean ecosystems.
“The science tells us that the cumulative impacts of greenhouse gas pollution, pollution from shipping and seabed mining, overfishing and other human activities in the ocean have contributed to a loss in biological diversity, weakened populations of some species and fisheries collapses,” said Payne, an associate professor in the Department of Human Ecology at Rutgers–New Brunswick and at Rutgers Law School–Camden. “The treaty would reduce the harmful impacts of these activities by subjecting them to environmental review and directing them away from ecologically sensitive and vulnerable areas.”
Payne chairs the Oceans, Coasts, and Coral Reefs Specialist Group in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Commission on Environmental Law, an intergovernmental organization that includes governments and non-governmental organizations. She has been advising the group on how to design a legally binding international agreement to conserve, and sustainably use, biodiversity in the open ocean. The U.N. General Assembly has authorized four negotiating sessions, with the next scheduled for March 23 to April 3 at U.N. headquarters in New York.
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