IUCN’s World Conservation Congress calls for 30% protection of the oceans

The Pew Trust reports, 9th September 2016: The International Union for Conservation of Nature members have passed a motion calling for more marine reserves.

The passing of this motion is a milestone for marine conservation and underscores the need to create more marine protected areas around the world.

In a major win for marine life, members of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress has voted to support increasing the portion of the ocean that is highly protected to at least 30 percent to help effectively conserve biodiversitybiodiversity Biological diversity in an environment as indicated by numbers of different species of plants and animals..

The World Conservation Congress, taking place 1st-10th September in Honolulu, has brought together thousands of leaders, government decision-makers, island residents, and indigenous peoples from around the world to seek solutions to global environmental challenges. The conference is hosted by the IUCN every four years.

The passing of this motion is a milestone for marine conservation and underscores the need to create more marine protected areas around the world to combat increasing threats from overfishing, marine debris, pollution, and other human activities.

Adopted IUCN motions show broad international support for issues by governments, non-governmental organisations, and scientists and often lead to conservation advancements by countries and international decision-making bodies.

Scientific research strongly supports the notion that safeguarding at least 30 percent of the ocean in marine protected areas or reserves would conserve biodiversity, support fisheries productivity, and sustain the myriad economic, cultural, and life-supporting benefits of healthy seas.

Research also shows that marine reserves help rebuild species abundance and diversity, bolster the ocean’s resilience to climate change, and help maintain and improve the overall health of the marine environment.

A 2014 study found that marine protected areas yield the greatest benefits when they are large, no-take, isolated, well-enforced, and long-standing.

The creation of marine reserves within national waters has doubled the amount of ocean protected since 2006, but it will be difficult to achieve the IUCN-recommended 30 percent level without protecting vast areas of the high seas — those waters beyond national jurisdictions. These global commons — areas used freely by all but owned by no one — make up 64 percent of the ocean.

In 2015, the U.N. General Assembly took a step to improve high seas management by agreeing to begin negotiations on a treaty that would allow greater conservation and sustainable use of marine life on the high seas.

Pew and its partners are working with governments to ensure that the process will yield a robust system for identifying and establishing high seas marine protected areas, including marine reserves. Discussions at the U.N. began in March 2016, with the second round of meetings occurring 26th August to 9th September, 2016. If governments can keep on track, the new treaty could be adopted by 2020.

Source: Pew Trust News release, 9th September 2016. For further details, see: www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/analysis/2016/09/09/world-conservation-congress-calls-for-protecting-at-least-30-percent-of-the-ocean


Marinet observes: The UK Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, 25th Report, titled Turning the Tide, published 2004, recommended 30% marine reserves in UK seas, and said it did not really matter where they were located as long as they were created because the benefits of marine reserves are so immense. This Report was largely ignored, and is now buried.

When it comes to how to create marine reserves on the “high seas” — identified by Pew as the really significant challenge — the answer lies in the proposals of Marinet member, Deborah Wright, published by Marinet. See Conserving the Great Blue.

The question is: are we on the cusp of change — a change that is so urgently required?
The answer is: yes, if we demand that it happens — so, are you making that demand?

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