GOVERNMENTS will meet at the United Nations in New York this week to work on the UN Ocean Treaty for the first time since it opened for signatures in September 2023.

The High Seas are home to millions of species and ecosystems but less than one per cent are fully protected. They are under increasing pressure from a range of threats, including industrial fishing, pollution and the emerging deep sea mining industry.

Greenpeace UK is calling on the UK government to ratify the Global Ocean Treaty by the end of the year, and to support other states across the world to do the same. Greenpeace is also calling for the UK government to work with other countries to develop a proposal for a high seas ocean sanctuary within the Sargasso Sea, the uniquely biodiverse part of the Atlantic Ocean surrounding the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda. The Treaty will enter into force once at least 60 countries have ratified the Treaty.

Meg Randles, who is leading Greenpeace’s delegation in New York, said: “If governments really want to keep their promise to protect 30 per cent of the world’s oceans by 2030, then they must make serious and significant progress this week in New York. This means leaving New York with a clear agreement on an ambitious programme of work which will allow governments to hit the ground running when the Treaty enters into force in 2025 and deliver the protection at sea that our oceans so desperately need.”

Reshima Sharma, political campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said: “The UK played a strong role in negotiating this Treaty, but progress to sign it into UK law has since stalled. If the next government wants to be seen as a leader on ocean protection and biodiversity, it must announce legislation to ratify the Global Ocean Treaty in its first King’s Speech and complete ratification by the end of the year.”

Once the Global Ocean Treaty enters into force there will then be a series of Ocean COPs, where governments can deliver Marine Protected Areas on the high seas, eventually reaching the target of protecting 30 per cent of the oceans by 2030. This target was agreed by all governments under the Convention on Biological Diversity in 2022.

* Source: Greenpeace UK