UN Ocean Conference looks to take steps towards agreement on the high seas

The city of Lisbon in Portugal — The United Nations is hoping Monday’s international conference will give new impetus to protracted efforts for a global agreement to protect the world’s oceans.

The five-day United Nations Oceans Conference in Lisbon, Portugal attracted senior officials and scientists from more than 120 countries to the Atlantic port city in southwestern Europe, as well as Activists are frustrated by the failure to come up with international rules that can guarantee the sustainability of the oceans. .

There is no comprehensive legal framework covering the high seas. The oceans cover about 70% of the earth’s surface and provide food and livelihoods for billions of people. Some activists call them the largest unregulated region on the planet.

In his opening speech, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on countries to show “solidarity and solidarity around maritime issues”.

“Sadly, we have despised the ocean, and today we face what I call an ocean emergency,” Guterres said.

Threats to the oceans include global warming, pollution, acidification and other problems, the UN said. Potentially harmful deep-sea mining also lacks rules.

The conference is expected to adopt a declaration that, although not binding on the signatories, could help implement and facilitate the protection and conservation of oceans and their natural resources. their origin, according to the United Nations. The statement will be confirmed on Friday.

But still out of reach is a major new international agreement on Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction, also known as the High Seas Treaty.

That treaty is being negotiated under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which is the main international agreement governing human maritime activities.

However, after 10 years of negotiations, including a fourth round of talks three months ago, an agreement is not yet in sight. The fifth round is scheduled to take place in August in New York.

“The world’s largest ecosystem … is still unprotected and dying the way we see it,” activist group Ocean Rebellion said ahead of the event in Lisbon.

Activists plan to rally in the Atlantic port city during the event.

The United Nations said that despite the disappointments, the conference was an “important opportunity to accelerate” steps towards a treaty on the high seas, as delegates informally debated possible ways to do so. exam.

The conference is also expected to reaffirm and build on the 62 commitments that governments made at the previous summit in Nairobi, Kenya in 2018, from protecting small island states with ocean-based economy to sustainable fishing and water warming.

Funding models for ocean conservation are also on this year’s agenda, as are innovative, science-based solutions that can improve ocean health.

US climate envoy John Kerry and French President Emmanuel Macron were among those attending several days of the event.


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