Ocean treaty bid fails

Global efforts to thrash out a new treaty to protect the world’s oceans have ended in failure with campaigners accusing governments of putting profit before protection.

After two weeks of negotiations  in New York delegates charged with creating a new UN Ocean Treaty failed to reach an agreement with the Arctic said to have been the stumbling block as global warming has opened up new transit corridors and also enhanced the ability to extract minerals from the ocean floor.

UN members failed to agree on how to share benefits from marine life, establish protected areas, or to prevent human activity with life on the high seas.

“Although we did make excellent progress, we still do need a little bit more time to progress towards the finish line,” UN oceans ambassador Rena Lee said, according to Agence France-Presse.

However, Campaigners have reacted with anger said the talks failed “because of the greed of countries in the High Ambition Coalition and others like Canada and the United States. They have prioritised hypothetical future profits from Marine Genetics Resources over protecting the oceans.”

It added the High Ambition Coalition is not only failing to finalise a Treaty during this round of negotiations, but the text is lowering its ambition by the minute.

Laura Meller of Greenpeace’s Protect the Oceans campaign said from New York:
“The oceans sustain all life on Earth, but the greed of a few countries means this round of talks for a UN Ocean Treaty are now set to fail. The High Ambition Coalition has utterly failed. They should be the No Ambition Coalition. They’ve obsessed over their hypothetical future profits, undermining all the other progress made at these talks. Unless ministers urgently pick up the phone today to their counterparts and hammer out a deal, this Treaty process will fail.’

“Less than two months ago I was in Lisbon, at the UN Ocean Conference, listening to these leaders promise they would deliver a strong Global Ocean Treaty this year. Now we are in New York and the leaders are nowhere to be found. They’ve broken their promises.”

Meller added: “We are sad and angry. Billions of people rely on healthy oceans, and world leaders have failed all of them. It now looks like protecting 30% of the world’s oceans will be impossible. Scientists say this is the absolute minimum necessary to protect the oceans, and failure at these talks will jeopardise the livelihoods and food security of billions. We’re beyond disappointed.”

UN Secretary General Antonio Gutierrez warned back in June at the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon that the ‘egoism’ of some countries was hampering progress in these talks. At that same conference, countries committed at the highest political levels to delivering a strong Treaty.

Greenpeace added the failure to agree a Treaty will make delivering 30×30, protecting 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030, practically impossible.