Canada announces signing of UN agreement on conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction

News release

March 4, 2024 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

Today, the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs; the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change; and the Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, announced that Canada has signed the Agreement under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Biological Diversity of Areas beyond National Jurisdiction (the BBNJ Agreement). Minister Lebouthillier proudly signed the agreement on behalf of Canada in person in New York City.

As the world is facing growing environmental challenges, the preservation of ocean life is of utmost importance. The agreement seeks to protect the ocean, tackle environmental degradation and prevent biodiversity loss in the high seas in a global coordinated response. Canada is proud to have joined the agreement and encourages other nations to sign and ratify it as well.

Canada is committed to ocean conservation. Ratifying the agreement will complement Canada’s commitment to protecting 25% of its domestic land and water by 2025 and support the global commitment to protect 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030. It also complements Canada’s domestic commitment to implement the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.

Canada is already working with partners to prepare for the effective implementation of the agreement and reach its objectives for the protection of the world’s oceans and ocean life.


“Canada’s signature signals and reinforces our commitment to the protection of our oceans and marine biodiversity. Achieving these global goals will only be possible through a multilateral collaboration. We strongly encourage other countries to join the agreement and adopt the necessary changes accordingly.”

- Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada

“When Canada helped land the Global Biodiversity Framework at COP15 in Montreal, one of our top commitments was to protect 30 per cent of our oceans by 2030. We simply cannot get there without a treaty to protect our high seas beyond national jurisdiction. Canada will continue to work with international partners to protect the world’s oceans by implementing strong, effective and practical measures so that ocean wildlife can survive and thrive.”

- Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

“People around the world rely on healthy oceans – they are the backbone of many economies, cultures, and ecosystems. Canada, a maritime nation with the longest coastline in the world, is proud to sign the BBNJ Agreement. Today, from coast to coast to coast, we adhere to a coordinated approach to establishing marine protected areas on the high seas, working towards protecting 30 per cent of the world's oceans by 2030.”

- Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

Quick facts

  • At the 15th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity in Montréal, Quebec, in December 2022, Canada, along with 195 other countries, adopted the historic Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. The framework aims to safeguard the world’s nature, halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030 and put nature on a path to recovery by 2050.

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Kaitlin Power
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Environment and Climate Change Canada
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