We welcome the President’s Aid to Negotiations. To make the necessary progress for the adoption of the Global Ocean Treaty We Need by 2020, negotiations during IGC2 must aim at a “zero draft” soon after the conference.
The first UN Ocean Assessment stressed that, “urgent action on a global scale is needed to protect the world’s oceans”. Overfishing, seabed mining, pollution, coupled with the growing pressure caused by climate change and ocean acidification, are causing more damage to ocean life than ever in human history.1 With only a fraction of oceans under protection in areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ)2 , marine animals and areas critical for their survival are increasingly under threat; and so are natural ocean carbon sinks that help the planet mitigate against the impacts of climate change.
To halt biodiversity loss and safeguard natural carbon sinks from further degradation, the Treaty must empower governments to collectively create global ocean sanctuaries – highly protected marine reserves – in consultation with relevant stakeholders 3 . Governments must seize the historic opportunity to adopt the Global Ocean Treaty by 2020; by doing so they will strengthen ocean protection for decades to come.