The state of the Ocean is declining. Yet its good health is essential to our planet's equilibrium, and provides invaluable services to the billions of men and women who depend on it, particularly the 20% of the world's population who live less than 30 kilometres from the coast. Intense competition between governments and private players is leading to the over-exploitation of marine resources, massive pollution and the destruction of ecosystems, which is no longer confined to coastal areas but extends to all the world's seas, including areas beyond national jurisdiction.

The combination of these threats with the effects of climate change is leading to a profound alteration in the biological functions and ecosystem services provided by the marine environment. It also brings major challenges for populations, in terms of food security and adaptation to climate change for example. 

These challenges call for strong international cooperation. However, the governance framework for the Ocean is not devoid of rules. Indeed, recent decades have seen a significant development of agreements aimed at regulating marine human activities, such as the recently adopted Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework and the Treaty on the Conservation of High Seas Biodiversity. However, the political, institutional and legal framework for governance of the oceans still needs to be perfected, and existing rules need to be effectively implemented. 

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