Failed again. After two weeks of negotiations, the Member States of the United Nations (UN) separated on Friday August 26, without succeeding in concluding a treaty on the protection of the oceans, some major disputes remain to be overcome in order to reach a important agreement for the oceans, fragile and important wealth for the people.
After more than fifteen years of informal and then formal discussions to create a binding text, aimed at protecting this vast area that covers almost half of the planet, this fifth session is the last – as that the fourth, in March . Despite discussions that erupted into Friday night, that wasn’t enough. “We are nowhere near the finish line in this process”however, noted the president of the conference, the Singaporean Rena Lee.
“Although we have made good progress, we still need some time to achieve this”, he added, obtaining plenary approval to suspend work sine die. The UN General Assembly will now take up a request to continue this fifth session on a date that has not yet been determined.
There is no agreement on the exploitation of genetic resources
“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 The Pew Charitable Trusts, calling for a new session at the end of the year.
Greenpeace is worse, accusing especially the United States and the countries of the Coalition for High Ambition, led by the European Union (EU), who waited until the last moment to show this ambition. “self-expressive”. too late: “Time’s up”criticized Laura Meller, Oceans manager of the NGO. “As nations continue to speak out, the ocean and those who depend on it suffer”he added in a press release.
For example, the Pacific Island Developing States. For them, the very touched body of Samoa expressed him “disappointment”. “We live very far away and it is expensive to come here. (…) Money not spent on roads, medicine, schools”. “The Pacific came here in good faith and will continue to do so until we end this conference in the near future”he launched on the edge of tears, to the applause of the room.
Among the most sensitive topics in these negotiations, the distribution of possible profits resulting from the exploitation of genetic resources in the high seas, where the pharmaceutical, chemical and cosmetic industries hope to gain -an the miraculous molecules.
Responding to requests from developing countries that fear they will lose potential benefits because they cannot do this expensive research, the latest draft text is left on the table, but not ‘y agreement, the initial distribution of 2% – and eventually up to 8% – future sales of products from these resources that do not belong to anyone.
Greenpeace also accused, on Thursday, the EU, the United States and Canada of speeding up these negotiations to a failure because of their “greed” to keep these resources for themselves. The charges were dismissed by a European negotiator.
These questions of fairness between the North and the South cross many international negotiations, especially in the climate where developing countries are victims but not responsible for the warming of the claim of the futility of 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 kilometers) 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 ocean treaty is not finalized by the end of the year, this goal will not be achieved. The delegations still do not agree on the process of creating these protected areas, as well as the methods of applying the obligation of environmental impact studies before a new activity in the sea. “What a lost opportunity…” blamed on Twitter Klaudija Cremers, researcher at the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (Iddri) who, like many NGOs, has an observer seat in the negotiations.