New York – The final negotiations for a Global Ocean Treaty begin today and run until 26 August at the United Nations. The outcome of the meeting will determine the fate of the oceans for generations to come. 49 countries have committed to deliver an ambitious Treaty in 2022. These commitments must now become reality.

Laura Meller of Greenpeace’s Protect the Oceans campaign said from New York [1]: “These negotiations are a once in a generation opportunity to protect the blue part of our blue planet. The oceans sustain all life on Earth but for too long, we’ve neglected them. Delegates must finalise a strong Treaty this August. A weak Treaty, or any further delay, will maintain the broken status quo that has pushed the oceans into crisis.”

Awa Traore of Greenpeace Africa said from New York [2]: Governments have been discussing a Treaty for two decades. In that time, the oceans have lost so much and communities which rely on ocean resources are struggling. Here in West Africa, we’ve already seen fish stocks severely depleted by industrial fishing vessels, often from Europe, and this is already harming livelihoods and food security across the region. Any further delays would be a slap in the face to all who put faith in political leaders keeping their promises. Delegates must follow through on their governments’ commitments, and finalise an ambitious Global Ocean Treaty now.”

If a strong Global Ocean Treaty is not finalised in New York it will be essentially impossible to deliver 30×30 – at least 30% of the oceans protected by 2030. Scientists say this is the absolute minimum required to give the oceans space to recover.

To be considered a success, the meeting must deliver a Treaty that:

  • Sets as a primary objective the establishment of a global network of Marine Protected Areas.
  • Allows states, through a Conference of Parties (COP), to establish ocean sanctuaries, free from destructive activities like fishing and deep sea mining.
  • Allows the COP to make decisions by vote when a consensus is not possible.
  • Defines Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) to allow for the creation of fully and highly protected areas, which are most cost effective.
  • Allows the COP to decide whether activities such as fishing are allowed or prohibited in MPAs, without deferring to existing bodies.
  • Allows the COP to adopt interim or emergency measures to protect an area pending the establishment of an MPA.

In the two decades since a Treaty was first discussed, more than a hundred marine species have become critically endangered. Industrial fishing pressure also now covers at least 55% of the global oceans and the climate crisis continues to damage the oceans’ ability to regulate our planet’s climate and temperature.

ENDS

Photo and video are available in the Greenpeace Media Library.

Notes:

[1] Laura Meller is an oceans campaigner and political advisor for Greenpeace Nordic.

[2] Awa Traore is an oceans campaigner for Greenpeace Africa.

Contact:

James Hanson, Global Media Lead – [email protected] / +44 7801 212 994

Greenpeace International Press Desk, [email protected], +31 20 718 2470 (24 hours)

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