A historic step towards “ocean sanctuaries”
Marine, environmental and environmental defense organizations from around the world, grouped in the High Seas Alliance have described “historic” the treaty of the UN to protect the high seasthose waters beyond the national ones that are the largest habitat on the planet and open the way to protect at least 30% of the ocean.
Said Alliance, which integrates more than 40 NGOs of the world, in addition to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)has secured in a release following the agreement reached this morning by the countries at the United Nations, that the new treaty is a huge step for legally protect with “ocean sanctuaries” marine life and adapt “governance” of the high seas to the 21st century.
With scarcely just over 1% of the high seas currently protectedthe new Treaty opens the way to ensure the protection of at least one 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030which is the minimum that scientists consider necessary for their well-being, explains Rebecca Hubbard, director of the High Seas Alliance.
The Treaty establishes “modern requirements to evaluate and manage human activities that affect marine life on the high seas”, in addition to guaranteeing transparency to improve the management of sectors such as fishing, maritime transport and other activities that have been deteriorating the health of the oceans.
From the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Minna Epps, director of the global Marine and Polar program, has assured that the High Seas Treaty “opens the way for humanity to finally protect marine life in our only ocean.”
“It paves the way for humanity to finally protect marine life in our only ocean”
The agreement “closes gaps in international law” and provides a framework for governments work “together” to protect the global health of the oceans, and strengthen climate resilience and the socioeconomic well-being and food security of billions of people.
For her part, Laura Meller, from the Greenpeace organization, has described the agreement as “historic for the conservation” of the oceans, which she refers to as “a sign that, in a divided world, protecting nature and people can trump geopolitics”.
“Countries must formally adopt the Treaty and ratify it as quickly as possible to take effect and guarantee the fully protected ocean sanctuaries that our planet needs.”
Lisa Speer, director of the international ocean program at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)for its acronym in English), has said that “this text provides the basis for protecting biodiversity hotspots in the high seas. We now have a path to achieve the goal of protecting at least 30% of the ocean by 2030.
“The basis for protecting biodiversity hotspots on the high seas”
Said objective, according to the scientists, “is crucial” to maintain the health of the oceans in the face of the global warming and in front of the ocean acidification and other impacts of the climate crisis.
Gladys Martínez, executive director of the Inter-American Association for Environmental Defense (AIDA)has affirmed that “governments have taken an important step for the legal protection of two thirds of the oceanand with it, marine biodiversity, the livelihoods of coastal communities and food sovereignty”.
“The agreement -he has assured- marks a path to establish areas of high and full protection on the high seas, as well as for the environmental evaluation of projects and activities that could harm it.”
For her part, Farah Obaidullah, lawyer and founder of Women4Oceanshas also described the treaty as “historic for humanity and for the protection of all living things in our global ocean.
From the Center for Ocean Awareness, Research and Education (COARE), its executive director Christopher Chin, has assured that the world has given “a big step to get a little closer to the objective of safeguarding at least 30% of the high seas by 2030″.
“A great step to get a little closer to the goal of safeguarding at least 30% of the high seas by 2030”