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Sluggish approach to an Ocean Treaty?

As the first round of UN negotiations towards a historic UN Ocean Treaty draws to a close, Dr Sandra Schoettner of Greenpeace’s global ocean sanctuaries campaign has criticised the 'sluggish' response of key countries.

Our oceans are our life support system.  The ocean ecosystem produces half the oxygen we breathe.  The oceans absorb carbon dioxide and play a vital role in containing global warming.  We need to protect our oceans.  This is why a new international treaty is needed.

Turtle in Pacific Ocean courtesy of Greenpeace


But not all countries are coming on board with the vigour required.

Oceans belong to us all

Greenpeace says oceans beyond national boundaries "belong to us all" and need urgent international protection.

For the first time in history, this shared responsibility could be enshrined in law with a Global Ocean Treaty.

Over the past two weeks of UN negotiations, many countries from Africa, Pacific and Caribbean islands, Latin America and Europe have eagerly set about drafting the text of the treaty. 

They know just how acute the threats facing our oceans are and how fast they need to move to get an agreement from states by the deadline of 2020.

We need a treaty 'with teeth'


But Greenpeace warns that some governments are "lacking in vision and ambition." 

It points to countries like Norway, Russia, and Iceland, and says  

it’s disappointing to see the US, Australia and New Zealand being sluggish. Our oceans are in crisis and simply can’t wait while countries drag their feet.

To safeguard wildlife, tackle climate change and ensure food security for billions of people, we need to protect at least 30% of our oceans by 2030. 

We need to see a Global Ocean Treaty which has real teeth and allows us to create a network of ocean sanctuaries around the world. The future of our oceans depends on this treaty.



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