In this file photo dated Jan 14, 2020, members of marine conservation organization Sea Shepherd Conservation Society hold a banner to propose awareness of ocean protection. (PHOTO / AFP)
SINGAPORE — Delegations from hundreds of countries will meet in New York this week in an attempt to hammer out a new legally binding ocean protection treaty that green groups believe will decide whether efforts to safeguard global biodiversity can succeed.
Last August, an earlier round of talks on the new United Nations ocean conservation treaty were suspended, with countries unable to reach an agreement on financing. Sharing the proceeds of "marine genetic resources" and the establishment of ocean environmental impact assessment rules for development were also major sticking points.
According to Greenpeace, 11 million square kilometres of ocean must be protected every year between now and the end of the decade if a target of protecting 30 percent of the world's land and sea by 2030
Experts familiar with the negotiations said major parties have now moved closer together on key issues as new talks begin, though compromises were still being sought.
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"There seems to be an appetite to actually finalise the treaty now," said Jessica Battle, ocean expert at the Worldwide Fund for Nature.
"There are several countries who are looking for some concessions to be made, but at the end of the day what is really important is that the treaty doesn't get too watered down," she said, noting that one attempt to exclude fishing from the treaty had already been defeated.
According to Greenpeace, 11 million square kilometres (4.25 million square miles) of ocean must be protected every year between now and the end of the decade if a target of protecting 30 percent of the world's land and sea by 2030 – known as "30 by 30" – is to be met.
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"Genetic resources and the issue of finance will be the end game," said Greenpeace's Li.