January 27, 2021

The challenge of protecting 30% of the oceans by 2030

It is another of the great agreements of the One Planet Summit and Spain has already joined the initiative. Before that, there must be a new treaty that depends on the United Nations.

The top One Planet For Biodiversity Summit, which took place this week under the impulse of French President Emmanuel Macron, has also been the scene of a great global commitment to protect the oceans. Besides the agreements you can see here, highlights the decision to significantly expand the protected marine area, specifically to 30% of the total by 2030. Spain and other coastal countries have already joined this project.

The initiative was announced within the framework of the event One Planet For Biodiversity Summit which has been held in Paris. There, President Macron has insisted that it is necessary to accelerate action and act “now” with concrete actions in different fields, from agroecology to green finance, and for this he sees it necessary “to shake a little to achieve greater mobilization.

«What we have decided today has to be achieved (…). Now there are 50 members committed to achieving this goal by 2030, ”the French president celebrated, who is confident that this ambition will be raised in the coming months in order to launch initiatives both to protect terrestrial biodiversity, but also to increase marine protection , the fight against overfishing or against pollution. To finance nature, Macron has put on the table the commitment of 10 billion dollars over the next two months, reports Europa Press.

The commitment expressed this Monday at the launch of the High Ambition Coalition in the One Planet Summit It consists of achieving at least 30% of the ocean in 2030 with the establishment of marine protected areas.

The summit has adopted important agreements. Photo: One Planet Summit

Legal gap that prevents action

However, this will will not be possible until a new United Nations treaty is agreed. For this reason, the coalition has asked all its members to support this process “as a matter of urgency” and hopes to see a significant improvement in its 50 member states in the negotiations of this future treaty at the United Nations.

Specifically, according to the expressed commitment, it will also be necessary to establish marine protected areas on the high seas, that is, in areas of the oceans that are beyond the jurisdiction of States and that account for around two-thirds of all seas.

Nowadays it is not possible to protect these areas because there is still no international legal framework to carry out. The issue could be resolved through the new Treaty that is being negotiated at the United Nations (the final negotiating conference scheduled for March 2020 but was postponed to 2021, due to the pandemic).

The oceans lack adequate protection. Photo: Greenpeace

During the One Planet Summit Several heads of State and / or Government have participated, such as the President of Costa Rica, Carlos Alvarado; China’s Vice Premier Han Zheng; the Secretary General of the UN, Antonio Guterres; the President of the European Central Bank (ECB), Christine Lagarde; Prince Albert II of Monaco or Prince Charles of England, Angela Merkel, Boris Johnson, the Director General of WHO and FAO, Justin Trudeau Prime Minister of Canada, Marco Lambertini President of WWF International, among many others. On the part of Spain, the fourth vice president and minister for the Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge, Teresa Ribera, took the floor.

Ribera has committed to Spain will work at the domestic level to protect terrestrial and marine biodiversity and to actively collaborate after showing its support for the Action Plan for an Exemplary Mediterranean in 2030. Spain has 12% of its marine surface already protected.

Thus, he stated that Spain’s will is to achieve this new global framework for the conservation of biodiversity by 2030 – once the goals set in 2010 to stop its deterioration in 2020 have not been achieved – at the next World Summit of Biodiversity to be held this year in Kunming, China.

Dead sea turtle from ingesting a plastic container. Photo: Oceana

Alarming diagnosis

All participants have recognized that the damage we are doing to ecosystems is reaching unprecedented, catastrophic levels. The loss of biodiversity is alarming and the destruction of wildlife opens the door to health crises like the one we are currently experiencing throughout the planet, with the coronavirus. 60% of known diseases and 75% of new discovered are zoonotic.

75% of the Earth’s land surface has been significantly altered by human actions, such as the loss of 85% of the wetland area. 66% of the ocean area is experiencing multiple anthropogenic impacts, such as overfishing, pollution and chemical changes due to acidification.

“We will protect marine biodiversity and manage resources sustainably as we make investments in the Blue Economy,” Ribera stressed. He also said that Spain will remain “at the forefront of multilateral efforts to protect terrestrial and marine biodiversity and has urged other countries to support regional marine protection initiatives.

Spain will continue to develop marine fishing areas

In this sense, it has confirmed that Spain will support the objective of protecting 30% of the global ocean between now and 2030 and, at the domestic level, marine protected areas of fishing interest will continue to be developed, a tool that has been defended at the international meeting. proven to be “more effective in conserving and restoring fisheries and ocean biodiversity”.

Specifically, he explained that Spain will actively work on the Action Plan for an Exemplary Mediterranean in 2030, especially against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. On the other hand, has reiterated Spain’s commitment to the “responsible deployment” of marine renewable energy.

He Action Plan for an Exemplary Mediterranean 2030 It has four multisectoral objectives to be developed by the States that make up the basin and that will protect 30% of its extension in 2030; gradually end overfishing; Ban single-use plastics and move towards sustainable shipping.

Spain emphasized the enhancement of marine reserves. Photo: saveposidonia.net

Prince Albert II of Monaco has stated that the seas and oceans depend on people and people depend on them; so their health must be guaranteed for future generations. “We must start treating them like forests and we would like to protect the precious and fragile Mediterranean,” he said.

For her part, the French Minister for Ecological Transformation, Barbara Pompeli, has underlined the significant impact of climate change on the Mediterranean, which suffers from an increase in temperature for which the maritime industry “is partly responsible”, since it is the seventh largest emitter of greenhouse gases.

In his speech, Ribera has defended that the loss of biodiversity in the sea comes from terrestrial sources so that it is also necessary to invest in the way of producing and managing terrestrial waste.

United Nations pending

For the representative of the NGO High Seas Coallition, Peggy Kalas, has celebrated the launch of the Coalition of High Ambition launched at the One Planet Summit because it is an “important commitment” to achieve the protection of at least 30% of the ocean for the year 2030 through the establishment of Marine Protected Areas.

However, in statements to Europa Press he has warned that this will not be possible until a new and solid United Nations Treaty is agreed, so he asks “all members” of the Coalition to support this treaty process “As a matter of urgency” and hopes to see a “significant” improvement in the position of the 50 States – which are part of the Treaty negotiations to ensure that the objective is “really possible”.

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