Words by Smiley Team
After a long 20 years of talks and delays, a binding environment treaty will finally protect the Earth’s marine life.
The United Nations is currently negotiating an international legally binding “instrument” to bring marine areas across the globe under management and monitoring.
Almost half the planet is covered by open oceans which fall under no country’s laws, and therefore no protection. Now, world leaders are under pressure to conclude years of talks on an agreement to protect those open oceans that help sustain life on Earth.
The High Seas Treaty could be a gamechanger for marine protection, and oceans that have been subject to overfishing, pollution, piracy and other threats.
Negotiations finally got underway in 2018 after years of talks, but were delayed further by the coronavirus pandemic.
Now, negotiations have been started again on 23 March and will imminently bring about the finalised treaty.
"We sometimes say this is the most important environmental treaty that most people haven't even heard of," said Peggy Kalas, director of the High Seas Alliance.
"It is really the greatest opportunity in a generation to conserve ocean life and diversity on a global scale," she told AFP.
The concept of marine protected areas has gathered significant international support, with more than 75 countries backing a plan to create conservation areas covering 30% of the world's land and oceans by 2030.
The High Seas Alliance have said that negotiations must be concluded soon, so that work can be done on protecting the future of our vital oceans.
Marine Conservation Society: This is a UK charity fighting for a cleaner, better-protected, healthier ocean. Find out more and support.
Ocean Conservation Trust: Working with a team of marine biologists, educators, communicators, researchers, ecologists, oceanographers and divers, the charity connects people to the Ocean and restores habitats. Find out more and support.
Surfers Against Sewage: The charity cleans up UK beaches and advocating for water quality. Find out more and support.
Sea Shepherd UK: This is a registered marine conservation charity whose primary mission is to end the destruction of habitats and illegal killing of wildlife around the UK's coastline and across the world’s oceans in order to conserve and protect marine ecosystems and species. Find out more and donate.