Saving the oceans – level 3

08-03-2023 07:00

On Saturday, negotiators from more than 100 countries agreed to a UN treaty to protect the high seas.

Environmental groups say that this long-awaited step will help reverse marine biodiversity losses and ensure sustainable development. Very few of the high seas that are outside national jurisdictions are subject to any protection, and pollution, acidification, and overfishing pose a growing threat.

The treaty has been under discussion for 15 years, and economic interests had been a major sticking point throughout the latest round of negotiations. Developing countries were calling for a greater share of the spoils from the blue economy, including the transfer of technology.

Many see the treaty as a crucial component in global efforts to bring 30% of the world’s land and sea under protection by the end of the decade. To meet the target, nearly 11 million square kilometers of the ocean need to be put under protection every year. This means that countries need to formally adopt and ratify the treaty as quickly as possible to bring it into force.

Difficult words: jurisdiction (the official authority to make legal decisions), sticking point (an obstacle to progress towards an agreement or goal), to ratify (to sign a treaty or contract and make it officially valid).

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What efforts will be necessary in order for countries to meet the goal of protecting 30% of the world's land and sea by the end of the decade?


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