What is this ocean protection plan passed by the UN?
The first international agreement to protect biodiversity on the high seas was signed at the UN Headquarters in New York on Saturday, March 4th
A historic agreement
After 15 years of discussions and negotiations, this historic contract has finally been signed. It has taken so long because there are gigantic resources in these oceans that arouse enormous desire: oil, gas, fishing. When the signing was announced, the President even shed tears of joy. This endangered marine reserve is now under conservation.
So far, the protection and sovereign right over a sea zone only applied within the framework of the EEZ: the economically exclusive zones, i.e. 370 km from the coast of a country. Beyond these zones known as the high seas, from now on, United Nations law will prevail: the high seas cover practically half of the planet and represent two thirds of the planet, the latter harboring a huge reservoir of biodiversity that actually knows very little. Human action destroys what we don’t know yet, so the idea is to protect this nature that beyond morality, aesthetics or common sense maybe will serve us in future generations.
The meaning of this contract
The aim of this agreement is to protect 30% of the earth’s land and oceans by 2030. In short, this treaty includes “fully protected” areas, This means that no human activities are allowed (no fishing, no mining, no sea transport). As well as “highly protected” areas, meaning human activity can take place but is monitored and regulated.
This agreement, which has brought together more than 100 United Nations countries, therefore aims to protect biodiversity to ensure sustainable development. “Life on earth depends on a healthy ocean. The new High Seas Agreement will be critical to our collective goal of protecting 30% of the oceans by 2030,” said Monica Medina, ocean director at the US Department of State.
The point of contention observed up to the last minute concerned the possible exploration and commercialization of the genetic benefits found in these oceans. This scientific research could lead to discoveries or cures for the medical, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. However, some countries do not have the means to finance such an expensive expedition, which is why developing countries have fought to the last not to be left out of the expected profits from the commercialization of these resources. Many observers have noticed that a contrast between the countries of the South and those of the North is reappearing. Nevertheless, according to GreenPeace, “this agreement is the first step towards accelerating marine protection”.