Environmentalists urge UN to ramp up ocean efforts

Global governments have been urged to send senior ministers to the second week of talks to define the future of the world’s oceans amid fears that progress has stalled.

Environmental group Greenpeace has said it believes UN negotiations for a new Global Ocean Treaty are stalling due to a lack of political will.

In response Greenpeace offices have sent letters to governments around the world, urging them to send high-ranking ministers to the second week of talks

Arlo Hemphill, senior oceans campaigner with Greenpeace USA said: “Delegates are behaving like we have another decade for them to keep talking about this. We don’t. Time is running out for our oceans. If we don’t get a Treaty in 2022, it will be practically impossible to protect 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030.

“Scientists say this is the absolute minimum needed to protect the oceans. Governments must heighten their ambition to conclude this negotiation by sending ministers to the second week of talks to secure a strong Treaty.”

The group accused delegates of wasting hours discussing minor issues, reopening previously settled issues, or repeating old positions, whilst some Global North delegations refuse to make concessions to meet the needs of the Global South on key issues relating to equity. “Some delegations even continue to argue that the primary purpose of a marine protected area should not be conservation,” Greenpeace added.

“The outcome of the two week long meeting will determine the fate of the oceans for generations to come,” Hemphill explained. “A strong treaty would pave the way for 30% of the world’s oceans being protected by 2030. A weak treaty, or no treaty at all, would make this practically impossible.”