Work started at the United Nations this week on the next big global environmental treaty. The treaty would create rules of the road for management of the high seas, including provisions to create marine sanctuaries and other mechanisms to preserve sea life and biodiversity.

The high seas are areas beyond the territorial waters of any country. It covers 60% of the planet, and is basically the Wild West — there is no internationally agreed upon way to ensure marine life and commercial activities co-exist in harmony.

On the line to discuss this new treaty (which does not yet have a name) is Elizabeth Wilson of the Pew Charitable Trusts. She explains the problems that this new treaty aspires to solve, how it would fit into already existing treaties, like the Convention on the Law of the Sea, and the process and politics surrounding the crafting of this treaty and its eventual ratification.

The new treaty, which does not yet have a name, is one of the most important efforts for conservation of the global commons in the history of the planet. This conversation offers great insight into the debates that will shape the crafting of this new treaty.

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