After long and tough negotiations, the United Nations have agreed on a text to protect the world’s oceans. The head of the UN conference that brought about the agreement, Rena Lee, said at the United Nations headquarters in New York to applause from delegates: “The ship has reached the shore.”
The treaty has yet to be formally adopted, and the exact text has not yet been made public. What is already known, however, is that the agreement will allow for the establishment of marine protected areas in international waters. It will also require states to assess their economic projects, expeditions and other activities in the world’s oceans for their environmental impact. Reactions to the UN agreement were very positive worldwide.
The WEA Sustainability Center welcomes the agreement and emphasizes in particular the importance of the plans to place biodiversity on the high seas under internationally binding protection. “The outcome of the Intergovernmental Conference on Marine Biodiversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction is a historic step forward for the conservation of God’s precious creation in the approximately 60 percent of the world’s oceans designated as the high seas,” said WEASC Co-Director Matthias Boehning.