“This action is a victory for multilateralism and for global efforts to reverse the destructive trends facing ocean health, now and for generations to come,” the UN chief said in a statement issued by his spokesperson late Saturday night, just hours after the deal was struck at UN headquarters in New York, there tough negotiations if the draft treaty has been going on for the past two weeks.

Agreement reached by delegates of the Intergovernmental Conference on Marine Biological Diversity in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction, better known by its acronym BBNJis the culmination of UN-backed talks that began in 2004.

Already called the “High Sea Treaty,” the legal framework would place 30 percent of the world’s oceans in protected areas, put more money into marine conservation and cover access to and use of marine genetic resources.

Through his spokesperson, Guterres said the treaty is critical to addressing the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution.

“It is also important for achieving ocean-related goals and objectives 2030 Agenda for sustainable developmentand that Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework,” the statement read, referring to the so-called ’30×30a pledge to protect a third of the world’s biodiversity – on land and at sea – by 2030 made by a historic UN conference in Montreal last December.

Note that the BBNJ decision is based on the legacy of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the Secretary-General commended all parties for their ambition, flexibility and perseverance, and saluted Ambassador Rena Lee of Singapore for her leadership and commitment.

“Ladies and gentlemen, the ship has reached the shore,” Lee said last night, announcing the deal to an extended standing ovation in the meeting room. Delegations will meet again later to formally adopt the text.

The statement from the UN spokesman said the Secretary-General also acknowledged the critical support of non-governmental organizations, civil society, academic institutions and the scientific community.

“He looks forward to continuing to work with all parties to secure a healthier, more resilient and more productive ocean, for the benefit of current and future generations,” the statement concluded.