A new U.N. treaty to protect the world’s oceans is expected to be signed by dozens of countries on September 20, another step in the efforts to reverse the damage done to fragile marine environments by overfishing and other human activities.
The global pact to conserve biodiversity on the high seas was finally agreed in March and formally adopted by the United Nations in June. It is seen as a crucial tool to meet a target agreed last year to protect 30% of the earth’s land and sea by 2030, known as “30 by 30”.
At least 60 countries are expected to sign the agreement at the annual United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday. However, it still needs to be ratified on a national level before it goes into effect.
The agreement will create ocean sanctuaries where fishing will be prohibited, and also ensure human activity on the high seas is subject to environmental impact assessments.
Threats to the ocean environment have been mounting in recent years as a result of overfishing as well as rising temperatures, and new threats could also emerge from ocean-bed mining and the use of geoengineering technologies to boost the ocean’s capacity to absorb carbon dioxide.
Environmental groups say the treaty must be brought fully into effect by 2025 at the latest to ensure the “30-by-30” protection target is reached.
(Inputs from Reuters)