Wednesday, August 10, 2022

UN Ocean Conference eyes set for high seas agreement

LISBON, Portugal ( Associated Press) – The United Nations is hoping a conference starting Monday will bring new momentum to long-term efforts to find an international agreement on protecting the world’s oceans.

The five-day United Nations Oceans Conference in Lisbon, Portugal, has attracted senior officials and scientists from more than 120 countries to the Atlantic port city in southwest Europe as well as activists frustrated by its failure to come up with international regulations that limit the ocean’s potential. can ensure stability. ,

No comprehensive legal framework covers the high seas. Oceans cover about 70% of the Earth’s surface and provide food and livelihood for billions of people. Some activists refer to them as the largest irregular sphere on the planet.

The United Nations says the oceans face a “serious” threat from global warming, pollution, acidification and other problems. Potentially harmful deep-sea mining also lacks regulations.

The convention is set to adopt a declaration, although not binding on its signatories, that, according to the United Nations, could help to implement and facilitate the protection and conservation of the oceans and their resources. The announcement is to be ratified on Friday.

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But still beyond reach is an important new international agreement on biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction, also known as the Treaty of the High Seas.

That treaty is being negotiated within the framework of the Joint Convention on the Law of the Sea, the main international agreement governing human maritime activities.

After 10 years of negotiations, however, including a fourth round of talks three months ago, a deal is still not in sight. The fifth round is scheduled for August in New York.

“The world’s largest ecosystem … is still vulnerable and dying as we see it,” activist group Ocean Rebellion said ahead of the Lisbon event.

During the event, activists are planning a demonstration in the Atlantic port city.

Despite the frustrations, the conference is “an important opportunity to accelerate” toward a high seas treaty, the UN says, as delegates informally debate possible ways to proceed.

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The conference is also expected to reaffirm and build on some 62 commitments made by governments at the previous summit in Nairobi, Kenya in 2018, ranging from protecting small island states with ocean-based economies to sustainable fishing and combating hot water. To protect. Funding models for ocean conservation are also on the agenda this year, along with coming up with science-based, innovative solutions that can improve ocean health.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, US Climate Envoy John Kerry and French President Emmanuel Macron are also among those attending the event.

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