UN mulling treaty for protecting ocean life

2015-06-20 21:53
Vietnamese boats smoulder after the government of Palau set them on fire for poaching illegally in its waters, which it hopes to turn into a marine sanctuary.  (Jeff Barabe, AP)

Vietnamese boats smoulder after the government of Palau set them on fire for poaching illegally in its waters, which it hopes to turn into a marine sanctuary. (Jeff Barabe, AP)

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New York - The United Nations has taken a step closer towards drafting a major treaty that would protect marine life beyond territorial waters by passing a resolution at the general assembly.

The eventual UN treaty would be the first to specifically address protection of marine life, calling for the preservation of vast areas threatened by pollution, overfishing and global warming.

The resolution, which was co-sponsored by Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Samoa and Tonga among others, established a "preparatory committee" scheduled to meet twice in 2016.

The resolution "decides to develop an international legally-binding instrument... on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction."

Marine life

Further meetings in 2017 will conduct more preparatory work and the assembly will decide in 2018 on convening an international conference to negotiate the treaty.

The treaty would deal with international zones that make up 64% of the world's oceans or a total of 43% of Earth's surface.

Regular international conventions already regulate some activities, such as fishing in certain areas, but at the moment no treaty exists to protect the seas against all dangers that threaten marine life.

This initiative, which the United Nations has been discussing for 10 years, was revived in January when experts from 193 countries met in New York.

Read more on:    un  |  us  |  marine life

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