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FutureStarrTreaty to Protect Ocean Life Signed by Over 100 Countries
After 15 years of negotiations, UN member states have finally reached agreement on a landmark treaty to protect ocean life. The High Seas Treaty will create marine protected areas to conserve and manage biodiversity within the world's vast expanses of international waters - which cover around half of Earth.
The treaty provides legal tools to safeguard 30% of the world's oceans as protected areas and provides funding for marine conservation initiatives. It also requires environmental impact assessments for commercial activities like deep-sea mining, as well as guarantees to share any benefits from harvesting marine genetic resources with stakeholders.
About one-third of ocean species are threatened with extinction. Many migrate long distances, often crossing national borders and the high seas; further, they are highly vulnerable to climate change impacts.
The oceans are essential components of our global ecosystem, providing half the oxygen we breathe and absorbing much of the carbon dioxide released by human activity. Unfortunately, they are being rapidly damaged due to pollution, overfishing, and climate change.
Scientists report that marine biodiversity has been decreasing. The high seas alone contain more than 10 million species, many of which are endangered or extinct.
Oceans not only support an abundance of wildlife, but they are essential to human health and prosperity as they provide oxygen for breathing, regulate global temperatures, and serve as sources of food.
However, efforts to conserve the world's oceans have been hindered by a patchwork of laws and organizations. Most focus on fishing, shipping, mining and fossil fuel extraction but fail to take into account all potential threats.
Environmental experts say the new treaty will fill these voids, providing a legal framework to safeguard marine life in international waters. It will permit countries to establish marine protected areas where fishing is banned and other activities are regulated.
The agreement will help countries reach their commitment to protect 30% of marine biodiversity by 2030, as set by UN leaders at COP15 in Montreal last year. Furthermore, it will support efforts to combat climate change.
Saturday night's agreement, reached after two weeks of talks, marks an historic turning point in ocean conservation. It marks the first time countries have come together to form a single global treaty to safeguard the high seas. Its primary aim is to establish marine protected areas within international waters of the high seas.
The oceans are essential to life on Earth, providing half the oxygen we breathe and absorbing more than a third of carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel burning. Unfortunately, marine ecosystems have long been damaged due to overfishing, shipping traffic and seabed mining activities. This exploitation has put at risk a variety of species such as dolphins, whales, sea turtles and many types of fish.
On Saturday night, over one hundred countries joined the UN in signing a historic treaty that will create a framework for protecting the oceans - which cover nearly half of Earth. This landmark agreement provides vital protection for these high seas that span almost half the planet's surface.
Delegates gathered in New York for two weeks of negotiations that culminated on Saturday evening, one day after the deadline. This agreement represents a significant victory for environmentalists who had been campaigning for nearly two decades to safeguard the vast expanses of international waters that cover two-thirds of the ocean.
At the Biodiversity Conference in Montreal last December, scientists set a target to conserve 30% of the world's oceans by 2050. However, conservationists contend there are still flaws in the text which must be rectified before qualifying as an effective and equitable treaty.
There's also a call for better sharing of ocean natural resources, with pledges to share marine genetic resources - scientific knowledge about deep-sea organisms that could have value to humanity - and conduct environmental impact assessments before commercial activities like deep-sea mining take place. Furthermore, this agreement creates a global marine protected area network where nations can propose new protected areas within the oceans.
It is essential that governments ratify this historic agreement in order to put it into effect and create the ocean sanctuaries our planet needs. Greenpeace believes this is the first step towards meeting the 30x30 target, which requires countries to protect 30% of their oceans by 2030.
After two decades of negotiations, over 100 countries have finally agreed on language for an historic treaty to safeguard ocean life. This comes amid mounting threats from climate change, overfishing and seabed mining.
International waters, which extend up to 200 nautical miles beyond countries' territorial boundaries, make up 60% of the ocean and are home to an array of species and ecosystems that absorb excess heat and reduce global warming. Unfortunately, fragmented regulations have left these areas susceptible to overexploitation.
The new treaty will create a body to coordinate conservation efforts and create marine protected areas on the high seas, setting limits on fishing, shipping routes and exploration activities like deep sea mining - when minerals are extracted from beneath 200m of surface.
It also intends to convene a Conference of the Parties (COP), where nations can be held accountable for adhering to the treaty's implementation. This is seen as an essential step towards UN members reaching their 2030 target of protecting 30% of sea and land areas worldwide - an objective agreed upon at an historic conference held in Montreal last December.
Environmentalists hail it as an important victory in the fight to preserve Earth's vast oceans, which provide food and income to billions of people. But experts caution that until all countries ratify the treaty, its full implementation cannot take place.
Before it can take effect, the agreement must be translated into all six official languages and officially adopted by nations. Although it is a historic milestone, ratifying and implementing it correctly could take years.
The treaty creates a framework to protect 30 percent of the world's oceans, allocate more funding into marine conservation efforts, and guarantee access to and use marine genetic resources. Furthermore, it helps mitigate climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide - an important greenhouse gas - from the atmosphere.
After years of negotiation, the world has finally agreed on a landmark treaty to safeguard ocean life that covers nearly half of Earth. This historic milestone will help reverse the loss of marine biodiversity and guarantee sustainable development for future generations.
On Saturday night, over one hundred countries signed a treaty that will establish legal protections for the high seas - 60% of the ocean. These areas support an abundance of marine life and global fisheries on which billions rely. Furthermore, these areas play an essential role in abating carbon dioxide and providing oxygen for our planet.
But the high seas are increasingly being threatened by climate change and overfishing. Only 1.2 percent of the world's high seas are currently protected, prompting environmental groups to urge more action to be taken.
A major provision of the treaty is the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), which creates a legal framework for coastal states to exploit resources like oil, gas and gravel that are found beyond national jurisdiction. It also regulates exploration activities like deep-sea mining - when minerals are mined from under 200m of seabed.
The EEZ is significant because it enables coastal states to utilize natural resources without harming other countries or marine life. Furthermore, the EEZ creates a framework for countries to share their marine wealth and reap the rewards of increased economic activity from it.
This agreement is a major accomplishment in ocean governance and it marks the conclusion of two decades-long efforts that began with 2004's resolution to develop an ocean treaty. This accomplishment will enable the United Nations to reach its 2030 goal set at their Biodiversity Conference: conserve 30% of Earth's oceans.
This new agreement is an important step toward that end and it will help reverse the degradation of the high seas, an essential part of ocean life. Additionally, it gives nations tools to mitigate climate-change effects and safeguard endangered species while preventing overfishing which has caused much global marine life loss.