Ocean Rights Internationally

With nearly two-thirds of the Ocean beyond areas of national jurisdiction, coordinated international action is necessary to protect Ocean health. We are working with partners internationally, including the High Seas Alliance, the UN Harmony with Nature Initiative and the IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law to advance Ocean Rights in International Law.


We are holding a joint-webinar on June 18th, 2018 on the emerging movement of Ocean Rights. The webinar is open to the public and will be held through Zoom (https://zoom.us/j/757896922) and recorded. Learn more about the webinar and our expert panelists here.

High Seas

In fall 2018 the United Nations convened negotiations for the International Treaty for Biodiversity on the High Seas. Earth Law Center joined the nearly 40 organizations of the High Seas Alliance, to work toward protecting the half of the planet that is not under national jurisdiction. Learn more about the treaty and process (PDF). It is also available in Spanish (PDF) and French (PDF).

Help us encourage the adoption of a new legal framework into the treaty

ELC has issued a call for action for governments around the world to incorporate the Rights of Nature into their legal systems. To add your voice to this ongoing initiative, contact Ocean Rights Manager Michelle Bender at mbender@earthlaw.org. You can read more about the initiative in English (PDF) and Spanish (PDF). How can countries do so? This article attempts to highlight pathways to recognize the High Seas as a legal entity.

support the marine arctic peace sanctuary

ELC joined a coalition of groups supporting the creation of a marine sanctuary in the North Arctic region. As climate change effects deepen, it is critical that waters opened up from melting ice remain off-limits to fishing and oil exploitation. Known as MAPS, the treaty comes into effect after 99 countries sign. You can learn more and support the treaty by signing onto the petition here.

You can also help by subscribing to our newsletter, volunteering, or donating to Earth Law Center.