International
via Ocean Panel

World - In Rare Show of Solidarity, 14 Key Nations Commit to Protect Oceans

The world’s most far-reaching pact to protect and sustain ocean health offers hope that our seas’ dire problems might be solved.

WHEN THE HEADS of state of 14 nations sat down together in late 2018 to discuss the grim condition of the world’s oceans, there was no certainty that anything consequential would result. The leaders planned 14 gatherings, but met only twice before the pandemic upended their talks.

So when the group announced this week the world’s most far-reaching pact to protect and sustain ocean health, it signaled a bit more than a noteworthy achievement in a complicated time. The agreement, negotiated via the nuance-free tool of video conferencing, also offered hope of a renewed era of global accord on climate, where issues grounded in science might finally trump political posturing.

Overall, the 14 leaders agreed to sustainably manage 100 percent of the oceans under their national jurisdictions by 2025—an area of ocean roughly the size of Africa. Additionally, they vowed to set aside 30 percent of the seas as marine protected areas by 2030, in keeping with the United Nations’ campaign known as “30 by 30.” (Read more about 30 by 30 here.)

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