UN negotiation for the world ocean treaty resumes



by LORENZO CIOTTI

UN negotiation for the world ocean treaty resumes

Negotiations for the World Oceans Treaty, which was suspended one step away from a positive conclusion last August, are resuming at the UN headquarters in New York. The commitment agreed last December in Montreal at the World Conference on Biodiversity to protect 30 percent of the earth's surface and oceans by 2030 depends on it.

Greenpeace hopes that governments will return to negotiations, also ready for the necessary compromises to arrive at an effective treaty: we are already in overtime. This is the last chance and governments cannot fail. Greenpeace demands that the main goal of the treaty be the creation of a global network of marine protected areas covering at least 30 percent of the oceans.

A strong Treaty must be able to define Integrally Protected Sanctuaries in international waters and the Conference of the Parties (CoP) created by the Treaty must be able to make decisions with respect to every possible threat to future protected areas in international waters: from fishing, to pollution and mining.

The CoP must also be able to operate with majority decisions, without the threat of being paralyzed by vetoes from one or a few countries.

UN negotiation for the world ocean treaty resumes

The fact that a special session is being held a few months after the formal suspension of the negotiations is a good sign.

If a strong Treaty is signed on March 3, then the 30 x 30 target will still be within reach. Laura Meller, Oceans Campaigner and Greenpeace Nordic Polar Advisor, explained: "The oceans sustain life on planet Earth and their fate will be decided in this negotiation.

The science is clear: protecting 30 percent of the oceans by 2030 is the minimum effort needed to avert catastrophe. It was encouraging to see states adopt the 30 x 30 target in December, but high targets without follow-up mean nothing.

" A group of over fifty countries, the High Ambition Coalition had promised a treaty by 2022, but without succeeding. Many countries have refused to accept compromises on important points, such as financial aspects or the sharing of economic benefits derived from the genetic resources of marine organisms.

On these points, as on those relating to cooperation and capacity building, the negotiation is played out and it is above all up to the countries of the North of the world to resolve the impasse and propose credible negotiating offers to the countries of the South.