UN seals historic 'High Seas Treaty' after 10 years of negotiations
After ten years of discussions under the High Seas Treaty, countries have reached a historic accord to safeguard the world's oceans.
The treaty aims to protect and restore marine life by designating 30 percent of the world's oceans as protected zones by 2030, according to a BBC report.
"Putting aside differences and delivering a treaty that will let us protect the oceans, build our resilience to climate change and safeguard the lives and livelihoods of billions of people," Greenpeace Nordic's oceans campaigner Laura Meller praised countries for this big development.
"This is a historic day for conservation and a sign that in a divided world, protecting nature and people can triumph over geopolitics," she added.
The deal was achieved on Saturday night at the UN's New York headquarters after 38 hours of discussion. For years, discussions had been stalled by disagreements over money and fishing rights.
Just 1.2 percent of international waterways are still protected, 40 years after the last international ocean preservation agreement was signed.
Deepsea activities now subject to strict regulations
The International Union for Conservation of Nature estimates that about 10% of marine species worldwide face extinction. Fishing, shipping channels, and research activities like deep-sea mining will be restricted by the new protected regions.
Environmental organizations are worried that mining operations would contaminate marine life, harm animal spawning areas, and produce noise pollution.
"Any future activity in the deep seabed will be subject to strict environmental regulations and oversight to ensure that they are carried out sustainably and responsibly," the International Seabed Authority that oversees licensing told BBC.
The sharing of marine genetic resources, which are biological components from plants and animals in the ocean that have uses for society, such as medicines, industrial processes, and food, was the main point of contention during negotiations.
Poorer countries wanted to make sure that any gains made by wealthy countries would be distributed fairly. Yet, hardly one is aware of the value of ocean resources, making it difficult to decide how to split them.
Before the treaty can be put into effect, nations will have to get together once more to formally accept the deal, noted the BBC report.
The High Seas Treaty is an important step toward protecting our oceans and marine life, as well as ensuring a sustainable future for all.
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