Victory For the Oceans: World Leaders Deliver a Global Ocean Treaty!

by John Hocevar

March 7, 2023

Big Win! Governments finally secured a Global Ocean Treaty that will protect our oceans!

Big Win! On Saturday night, world leaders delivered one of the biggest conservation victories in human history — a Global Ocean Treaty to help protect at least 30% of the world’s oceans! World leaders still must formally adopt the treaty, but the negotiations are done!

Greenpeace USA activists unfurl a giant banner reading ‘Ocean Treaty Now!’ to send a clear message to delegates at the United Nations in New York at the start of the second week of the resumed IGC5 negotiations.

What does a Global Ocean Treaty actually do?

The new Global Ocean Treaty opens the door to the creation of a network of sanctuaries across the globe — areas where fragile ecosystems and marine life can recover and thrive.

Healthy oceans can help combat climate change by locking away carbon, and provide food security and livelihoods to more than 3 billion people, the vast majority of whom are in the Global South.

How did we get here?

This is the biggest conservation victory ever! One thing is for certain, it wouldn’t have been possible without people like you. You joined 5,540,512 other people from around the world to build a movement that protects our oceans and the billions of people who depend on them. So THANK YOU!

The treaty was possible because of years of relentless hard work from many people and a network of allies around the world. I still have the very first Greenpeace International briefing on this topic, written way back in 2005! Since then, the treaty has had many names, but the core remained the same — we needed oceans to be protected!

This is a historic day for conservation and a sign that in a divided world, protecting nature for the benefit of all people can triumph over geopolitics. Campaigning to save life on our planet can sometimes feel like a daunting task, and it’s easy to become disheartened. This victory reminds us that taking action makes a difference and that people power works!

With your support, the global Greenpeace network has visited every ocean, documenting the incredible array of marine life that inhabits them and observing the many challenges they encounter, from destructive fishing practices to deep sea mining. Our oceans have been exploited, but we know that when they are protected, life rebounds.

I joined Greenpeace USA nineteen years ago and was immediately sent to the United Nations. Since then, I have sailed on each of Greenpeace’s ships, which have taken me all over the world to build support for protecting our oceans. We have documented the plastic pollution crisis, stopped offshore drilling projects, exposed illegal fishing operations, and identified vulnerable habitats in need of protection. I cannot believe that today we have a treaty that will finally allow us to help establish ocean sanctuaries all over the world!

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There will be more to do to protect our oceans, and put these promises into practice, but for now, let’s take a minute to appreciate what together we have achieved.

John Hocevar

By John Hocevar

An accomplished campaigner, explorer, and marine biologist, John has helped win several major victories for marine conservation since becoming the director of Greenpeace's oceans campaign in 2004.

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