UN reaches agreement on protecting the world’s oceans

UN reaches agreement on protecting the world’s oceans

coral block

Environment Minister Steffi Lemke spoke of a “historic and overwhelming success”.

(Photo: imago images / imagebroker)

New York/Berlin After years of negotiations, the United Nations (UN) have agreed on an agreement to protect the world’s oceans. “The ship has reached shore,” said the President of the UN conference, Rena Lee, on Saturday evening in New York.

Negotiators from more than 100 countries had previously approved the text for the UN High Seas Convention in a 36-hour marathon meeting after a one-day extension to conclude negotiations. Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke spoke of a historic breakthrough.

“This is a historic and overwhelming success for international marine protection,” said the Green politician on Sunday. Binding rules for the high seas would now be possible for the first time. Marine protected areas, environmental impact assessments and other measures are intended to better protect endangered species and habitats in the future. Environmentalists spoke of a “day to cheer”.

The agreement has been negotiated for 15 years. It now has to be ratified by 60 countries in order to come into force. The pact is considered crucial in global efforts to protect 30 percent of the world’s land and sea surface by 2030.

This was the goal agreed at the World Conference on Nature in Montreal in December. So far, only a small part of the high seas is protected. Pollution, overfishing and growing shipping are increasingly polluting the world’s oceans.

Economic interests were a sticking point in the latest round of negotiations, which began on February 20. Developing countries also demanded greater support. According to environmental groups, the agreement should now help to stop the loss of biodiversity in the sea and ensure sustainable development.

Greenpeace warns: ‘The clock is still ticking’

Loud Greenpeace 11 million square kilometers of sea surface must be protected every year until 2030 in order to achieve the goal. “The clock is still ticking,” said Greenpeace-Representative Laura Meller.

“We have half a decade left and we must not be complacent.” For the WWF it is “a day for rejoicing”. The international community has overcome significant differences of opinion in favor of nature and the future on this planet. The largest habitat on earth can now be better protected.

Environment Minister Lemke called for speedy ratification. “Germany will push ahead with the implementation of this important agreement,” she announced. “Because the ocean is our powerful ally in the climate and biodiversity crisis. If we protect him, we also protect ourselves humans.”

Read more: Pledged nearly $20 billion for marine conservation

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