New York, USA – Palau has become the first nation to officially ratify the UN Ocean Treaty on Monday by depositing its ratification with the United Nations, in a further sign of Pacific Small Island Developing States’ continuing leadership on ocean protection.

Laura Meller, Project Leader of Greenpeace’s Protect the Oceans campaign, said: 

“As the first country to officially ratify the UN Ocean Treaty,  Palau has jumped into the lead in the race to ratification. They’ve already shown leadership in opposing deep sea mining in the Pacific Ocean, and have now set the bar for what it means to be an ocean champion. 

“Pacific nations continue to demonstrate global leadership from the frontlines of the climate and biodiversity crisis and by becoming the first country to ratify the Treaty Palau sends a strong message to other countries in the region: the time to protect the ocean and all the life it supports is now.

“The oceans are crucial for the climate, global food security and the livelihoods of billions of people. We expect governments around the world to follow in Palau’s footsteps and  bring the UN Ocean Treaty to life, so that the real work to protect the oceans can start.”

The historic UN Ocean Treaty is the most significant multilateral environmental deal since the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. Adopted in June 2023 and signed by 84 countries in September 2023, it will only enter into force once it is ratified by at least 60.[1]

Last week, the Chilean Senate approved the ratification of the UN Ocean Treaty unanimously.[2] Ratification by Palau, which was also one of the first countries to support a global moratorium on deep sea mining, paves the way forward in bringing the historic Treaty to life. Greenpeace urges governments to ratify the treaty by the UN Ocean Conference in Nice in 2025, and at the same time to create new marine protected areas.



In September 2023, Greenpeace International published 30×30: From Global Ocean Treaty to Protection at Sea setting out the political process to deliver protection for the global oceans. The report explores how cumulative pressures on the high seas are increasing, and quantifies for the first time the growing fishing activity in areas earmarked for protection, using data from Global Fishing Watch.

A petition has been launched by Greenpeace to call on governments to rapidly ratify the UN Ocean Treaty to create new ocean sanctuaries.

[1] Greenpeace created an interactive map where ratification of the treaty can be monitored, along with threats on the oceans.

[2] Last week, the Chilean Senate unanimously approved ratification of the UN Ocean Treaty – this process will be completed once it is published in the Official Journal and submitted to the United Nations.

Palau completed their ratification with submission to the United Nations on Monday January 22, which makes it the first country to officially ratify the treaty.

Both countries are pioneers in ratifying the treaty and Greenpeace congratulates both.


Magali Rubino, Global media lead for Greenpeace’s Protect the Oceans campaign: [email protected] +33 7 78 41 78 78 (GMT+1)

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