The UN general assembly voted to hold a meeting annually about the idea to protect marine life. In order to work toward developing a treaty that will assist with this ongoing problem. However, delays pushed back an essential meeting back in March of 2020. The final one is scheduled for March 2022. As more marine life perishes from oil spills and plastic pollution. With scientists urging UN member states to reach an agreement soon.
Progress has been made in negotiations to protect marine life
The High Ambition Coalition’s efforts to secure protection for marine life have led to progress. Though countries did not come to an agreement on a final treaty, the negotiations are far from over. A new treaty could protect 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030. According to scientists, about 11 million square kilometers of ocean need to be protected each year to achieve this goal. This is why it’s imperative to pass the Global Ocean Treaty this year.
The United Nations General Assembly approved a draft treaty in 2018 for the conservation of biodiversity on the high seas. However, the fifth round of negotiations failed to come to an agreement. The treaty would have established rules on how countries should share the benefits of marine life, establish protected areas, and prevent human activity that threatens marine life in the high seas.
Negotiations to protect marine life have been delayed but now it seems like the talks are now moving forward. This is an encouraging sign. However, the higher ups will have to make progress in the coming months to conclude the negotiations and secure a legally binding treaty for marine life.
While the latest round of negotiations focused on four key components of the future treaty, much more work is needed. Key areas include marine genetic resources, capacity-building, transfer of technology, and sharing the benefits of genetic resources. These issues are very sensitive areas for countries. The question is whether they should be voluntary or mandatory. In addition, it is not clear how much of the benefits should be shared.
The UN High Seas Treaty has been under negotiations for 10 years. Once passed, it could place 30% of the world’s oceans in conservation zones. This treaty would also help protect marine life from over-fishing. Currently, two-thirds of the world’s oceans are considered international waters and all countries have the right to fish, ship, and do research there.
United States committed to protecting at least 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030
Protecting at least 30 percent of the world’s oceans by 2030 is a crucial step to achieving healthier ecosystems and species. Tackling climate change and reducing ocean risks due to extreme weather events. This goal also benefits economies by protecting fisheries and other marine resources.
The US is working with a number of partners and alliances to advance ocean-focused sustainability goals. These partnerships include a new UN high-seas treaty and an attempt to advance the protection of the Southern Ocean. In order to meet the 2030 target, countries must create new MPAs in their Exclusive Economic Zones and create new international marine sanctuaries. In addition, it will be necessary to create new MPAs in Antarctica, which will require new protection measures in the Weddell Sea and East Antarctica. However, it appears there could be ongoing delays with other countries.
Marine protected areas are an ideal tool to guide conservation efforts. These areas support significant numbers of species and ecosystems, and many of them have high ecological integrity. They are often irreplaceable. In addition to being important to human health, protecting marine areas will also improve the quality of life for people and their communities.
The IUCN World Conservation Congress will vote on the proposed global goal of protecting at least 30 percent of the planet’s oceans by 2030. The motions to be considered include Motion 40 and Motion 101. As an example, the proposal for the protection of the world’s forests and marine ecosystems by 2030 is the result of a meeting at the UNGA in September 2021. The target will be a key part of the UNCLOS Implementing Agreement, which will focus on marine biodiversity conservation in areas beyond national jurisdiction. While the current target involves the creation of marine protected areas in countries’ own waters.
Future global targets would include a network of MPAs and OECMs in national and international waters.
In 1995, the Gulf of Mexico was designated as a National Marine Park.
This step protected an area of the Gulf of Mexico that is home to large populations of humpback whales, whale sharks, and manta rays. The park is a good example of the importance of ocean protection. It has increased fish biomass by 463%. However, the area surrounding the protected area is still open to fishing, allowing fishermen to take advantage of the increased fish and wildlife population. Increasing protection levels could have an equally dramatic effect on fish populations, biodiversity, and carbon dioxide levels. The IUCN has called for 30% of marine habitats to be protected by 2030.
Creating MPA networks will ensure the health and resilience of ecosystems. To protect marine life and provide homes for iconic species. In addition, it will help protect livelihoods for millions of people living in coastal communities.
Provided by Antonio Westley
Disclaimer: This article is meant to be seen as an overview of this subject and not a reflection of viewpoints or opinions as nothing is definitive. So, make sure to do your research and feel free to use this information at your own discretion.