Meeting Closes With A Major Step For The Ocean

Date: January 24, 2015

Source: High Seas Alliance

States took a major step toward urgently needed ocean protection at the UN today agreeing to develop a legally binding agreement to conserve marine life in the high seas.

After four days of deliberations States reached consensus to begin negotiating the first UN treaty that specifically addresses the protection of marine life in an area covering half the planet – those ocean areas beyond national jurisdiction.

Progress came despite pressure from a small group of governments that questioned the need for a new legal framework. That minority blocked agreement on a faster timeline reflecting the clear scientific imperative for action, but all countries agreed on the need to act.

Karen Sack of The Pew Charitable Trusts said, “This is a big moment for the high seas. Countries from around the world sat down and agreed to negotiate a way forward and that’s really good news for life in the global ocean.”

Sofia Tsenikli of Greenpeace said “Today’s agreement could go a long way in securing the protection the high seas desperately need. Countries now must respond to the overwhelming public demand for better ocean protection and develop an historic agreement for the oceans. Time is of the essence.”

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