At the UN, the new damage treaty is intended to protect the oceans

After more than 15 years of discussions to give birth to a binding text aimed at protecting this vast area that covers half the planet, the Member States broke away on Friday without an agreement.

After two weeks of negotiations, the member states of the UN separated on Friday August 26 without managing to conclude the agreement to protect the oceans, many major disputes remain to overcome this important agreement for the oceans, one fragile wealth. .and important for humanity. After more than 15 years of informal and then formal discussions to create a binding text aimed at protecting this vast area covering almost half the planet, this 5th session will be the last – like the 4th, in March. But, despite discussions that erupted into Friday night, that wasn’t enough.

“We are nowhere near the finish line in this process”, said conference president Rena Lee. but “Although we have made great progress, we still need some time to reach the finish line”he added, getting plenary approval to suspend work to die. The UN General Assembly will now take up the request to continue this 5th session on a date yet to be determined. “Despite the disappointment that the agreement was not finalized in these two weeks, we are encouraged by the progress that has been made”commented Liz Karan, of the NGO Pew Charitable Trusts, calling for a new session at the end of the year.

Among the most controversial topics in these negotiations, the distribution of possible profits resulting from the exploitation of genetic resources in the ocean, where the pharmaceutical, chemical and cosmetic industries hope to find the miracle molecules. Responding to requests from developing countries who fear losing potential benefits because they cannot carry out this expensive research, the latest draft text left on the table the initial distribution of 2% – and eventually up to 8% – of future sales of products from these resources that do not belong to anyone. But it is still in square brackets, meaning there is no agreement.

“Greed”

Greenpeace also accused the EU, the United States and Canada on Thursday of speeding up these negotiations towards failure because of their “greed” to keep these resources for themselves. The charges were dismissed by a European negotiator. These questions of North-South equity cross many international negotiations, especially in the climate where developing countries are victims but not responsible for the warming of claims that are useless to rich countries. to honor their promises of financial aid.

This treaty specifically refers to the high seas, beginning where the exclusive economic zones (EEZ) of States end, at a maximum of 200 nautical miles (370 km) from the coast, and therefore not less than jurisdiction of any country. While the good health of marine ecosystems is important for the future of humanity, especially to limit global warming, only 1% of this space, representing 60% of the ocean, is protected. One of the pillars of the agreement on “the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction” is to allow the creation of marine protected areas. “An important step in the efforts to protect at least 30% of the planet by 2030”said this week Maxine Burkett, an ocean officer at the US State Department.

Some experts fear that if the high seas treaty is not finalized by the end of the year, this goal will not be achieved. The delegations are still against the process of creating these protected areas, as well as the methods of applying the obligation of environmental impact studies before a new ocean activity. “What a lost opportunity…” blamed on Twitter Klaudija Cremers, researcher at the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI), which like some NGOs has an observer seat in the negotiations.

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