The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Tanya Brooks, Senior Communications Specialist at Greenpeace USA, (+1) 703-342-9226, 

UN Ocean Treaty Talks Set to Fail Because of 'High Ambition Coalition'


UN Ocean Treaty talks are on the brink of failure because of the greed of countries in the High Ambition Coalition and others like Canada and the United States. They have prioritised hypothetical future profits from Marine Genetics Resources over protecting the oceans. This is undermining progress made on Marine Protected Areas in the draft Treaty text, and talks are now set to fail.

The High Ambition Coalition is risking abject failure to deliver on their commitments to protect the oceans and finalise a Treaty in 2022. Not only are they failing to finalise a Treaty during this round of negotiations, but the text is lowering its ambition by the minute. We are facing a Treaty that will struggle to deliver 30x30, and takes an unfair and neocolonial approach by refusing to commit any finance for the benefit of all countries.

Laura Meller of Greenpeace's Protect the Oceans campaign said from New York:

'The oceans sustain all life on Earth, but the greed of a few countries means this round of talks for a UN Ocean Treaty are now set to fail. The High Ambition Coalition has utterly failed. They should be the No Ambition Coalition. They've obsessed over their hypothetical future profits, undermining all the other progress made at these talks. Unless Ministers urgently pick up the phone today to their counterparts and hammer out a deal, this Treaty process will fail.'

'Less than two months ago I was in Lisbon, at the UN Ocean Conference, listening to these leaders promise they would deliver a strong Global Ocean Treaty this year. Now we are in New York and the leaders are nowhere to be found. They've broken their promises.'

'We are sad and angry. Billions of people rely on healthy oceans, and world leaders have failed all of them. It now looks like protecting 30% of the world's oceans will be impossible. Scientists say this is the absolute minimum necessary to protect the oceans, and failure at these talks will jeopardise the livelihoods and food security of billions. We're beyond disappointed.'

The lack of high level political engagement in these talks has hamstrung them from the start, but it's become clear in the last days that the High Ambition Coalition and other countries' refusal to countenance any kind of financial commitments, no matter how small, will stop a Treaty from being agreed here. These countries include Canada and the United States.

UN Secretary General Antonio Gutierrez warned back in June at the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon that the 'egoism' of some countries was hampering progress in these talks. At that same conference, countries committed at the highest political levels to delivering a strong Treaty. They have not delivered on their commitments.

Failure to agree a Treaty in 2022 will make delivering 30x30, protecting 30% of the world's oceans by 2030, practically impossible.

There are still two full days of negotiations remaining. With talks set to fail, countries must now take urgent action, show flexibility and find compromise to deliver a strong Treaty text tomorrow. Ministers must also call counterparts to hammer out a deal, or talks will fail.

Greenpeace is a global, independent campaigning organization that uses peaceful protest and creative communication to expose global environmental problems and promote solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future.

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