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Conference on the High Seas in Paris

Many prominent players of ocean conservation gather in Paris today, 11 April 2013, to consider the protection of biodiversity in the high seas.

Organized around the French ministers in charge of the Environment, Delphine Batho, and of the Sea, Frédéric Cuvilier, this meeting reflects French efforts to carry forward the international commitments made in 2012 at Rio+20 for the sustainable management of marine resources in zones beyond national jurisdiction.

It paves the way for negotiations that will open next year over the international governance of the high seas, under United Nations leadership.

Under the title "The High Seas: Where the Future of Humankind Lies", the debates bring together international institutions, industries, associations and personalities. In attendance are Maria Damakani, EU Commissionner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries; Paul Holthus, General Director of the World Ocean Council; Simon Reddy, Executive Secretary of the Global Ocean Commission; and Michel Rocard, former French Prime Minister and Ambassador in charge of international negotiations for polar zones.

The organizers of the 3rd International Marine Protected Areas Congress are also represented, through Paul Giaccobi, President of the Agence des aires marines protégées (French Marine Protected Area Agency), and Christophe Lefebvre, Agency Advisor for International Relations and President of the French Committee of IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature).

The conference program is closely linked with the core issues of IMPAC3: protecting fragile ecosystems through cooperation on a global scale, in the service of sustainable development.

In this respect, France has a special role to play: it is the second maritime country worldwide, with waters under jurisdiction covering over 400,000 squares miles. Today's gathering, organized by the French Economic, Social and Environmental Council (CESE), comes as an acknowledgement of this special responsibility.

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