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Nations ‘egoism’ delays treaty on sea protection – UN chief

UN Secretary-General António Guterres. Photo: Reuters

  • UN member states have failed to agree on a plan to protect the high seas from exploitation.
  • UN Secretary-General António Guterres said the delay was due to some member states believing they were powerful enough to believe that international waters should be theirs.
  • He said the delay in a treaty to protect the oceans had led to a “sea emergency”.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Monday that the “selfishness” of some nations is hampering efforts to conclude a long-awaited treaty to protect the world’s oceans.

In March, UN member states failed to agree on a plan to protect the high seas from exploitation outside national jurisdictions.

Asked by journalists at the UN Maritime Conference in Lisbon what the obstacles to reaching an agreement were, Guterres replied: “Selfishness”.

“… Some people still think they are powerful enough to believe that international waters should be theirs,” he added.

Peter Thomson, the UN’s special envoy for the sea, told Reuters earlier that he was convinced that agreement on a treaty would be reached this year.

Guterres also appealed to governments and businesses to allocate more funds to help create a sustainable economic model for managing the marine environment.

“Unfortunately, we have taken the sea for granted, and today we are facing what I would call a ‘sea emergency’,” he said. “We must reverse the trend.”

Guterres said there was a need for symbiotic business models that could help the ocean produce more food and generate more renewable energy.

“It brings new levels of long-term financing,” he said.

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About 7,000 people are expected to attend the conference, including heads of state, scientists and NGOs, to assess the progress of implementing a directive on the protection of marine life.

Greenpeace said the treaty was the key to protecting 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030, the minimum scientists agree is needed to allow the oceans to recover.

“The leaders of Lisbon want to congratulate each other on how well they are doing with sea protection, while the sea crisis is deepening,” said Greenpeace’s Laura Meller. “We do not need another talking shop with vague statements and voluntary commitments.”

The oceans cover about 70% of the planet’s surface, generate 50% of the oxygen and absorb 25% of all carbon dioxide emissions.

But climate change is pushing ocean temperatures to record levels and making it more acidic, Guterres said, while about eight million tons of plastic waste pollutes the oceans each year.

Outside the conference, Ocean Rebellion activists wore fish heads while holding dead fish, urging them inside the venue to stop talking and acting.

“The oceans are dying and we need an appropriate urgency that we do not see from our leaders,” said campaign leader Rob Higgs.


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Nations ‘egoism’ delays treaty on sea protection – UN chief

Source link Nations ‘egoism’ delays treaty on sea protection – UN chief

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