New York – UN Ocean Treaty negotiations are once again stalling as they enter the final week. While there is still hope that a Treaty can be agreed, negotiations have moved far too slowly. The new draft Treaty text, published on Saturday 25 February, still contains major areas of disagreement. A gear shift, helped by ministerial engagement, is urgently needed to resolve these talks by Friday.

Finance remains a key issue. Global North countries like the UK, US and European Union member states must urgently put the money on the table for capacity building and implementing the Treaty. They must also resolve the mechanics of sharing financial benefits from Marine Genetic Resources. China will play a critical role in the outcome of these negotiations. China led from the front at Biodiversity COP15 in delivering the 30×30 agreement, but here it is falling behind. China, along with the Global North, must show more flexibility, or these talks will fail.

Dr Laura Meller, Oceans Campaigner, Greenpeace Nordic, said:
“Negotiations have been going around in circles, progressing at a snail’s pace, and this is reflected in the new draft Treaty text. It is far from where it should be as we enter the endgame of these negotiations. Negotiations must accelerate and Global North countries like the UK, US and European Union member states must seek compromises instead of quibbling over minor points. 

“China must urgently reimagine its role at these negotiations. At COP15, China showed global leadership but at these negotiations, it has been a difficult party. China has an opportunity to transform global ocean governance and broker, instead of break, a landmark deal on this new Ocean Treaty.”

Greenpeace USA activists today sent a clear message to delegates at the United Nations in New York, displaying a vast banner reading “Ocean Treaty Now” outside the UN headquarters. Images are available here.

A UN Ocean Treaty, able to deliver fully and highly protected ocean sanctuaries, is of fundamental importance to deliver the 30×30 target at sea. All governments agreed to the 30×30 target as part of the Kunming Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework in December 2022. Without a Treaty, there is no legal route to protecting large areas of international waters in ocean sanctuaries.

High Ambition Coalition leaders must engage with counterparts in the G77 group and China, at the highest possible political levels, to seek compromises that can get a Treaty over the finishing line. Time is up and countries must speed up the progress of negotiations by stopping reopening settled issues and deploying other delaying tactics as we enter this critical final week of negotiations.



James Hanson: +44 7801 212 994 / [email protected] 

Greenpeace International Press Desk: [email protected], +31 (0) 20 718 2470 (available 24 hours)