London, Monday 14th February 2022 –
Greenpeace has sent a Valentine’s card to the Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss, signed by four and a half million people imploring her to show some love for the world’s oceans by delivering a strong Global Ocean Treaty this March at the UN.
This Valentine’s day, campaigners went to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office to present Truss with a giant valentines card. Sadly, the Foreign Secretary was otherwise engaged, but the heartfelt pleas for ocean protection are loud, passionate, and four millionfold.
Photo and video of the Valentine’s Card being delivered, and from the Greenpeace Oceans campaign, are available here.
Greenpeace UK Head of Politics, Rebecca Newsom, said:
“Our oceans are tragically unloved and under-appreciated. World leaders have allowed these vital ecosystems to be mistreated and exploited, and without bold action now, there may no longer be plenty more fish in the sea.
“The UK’s history of leadership on ocean protection means the Foreign Secretary is well placed to rally the world around a strong Global Ocean Treaty. This would promote global peace and security, boost coastal economies, and safeguard seafood for the billions of people who depend on it. As the final round of negotiations approaches, will a government minister attend in person and do everything they can to properly protect our oceans, or will they break four million hearts and let this treaty be the one that got away?”
This March, world leaders will meet at the UN in New York to agree on a Global Ocean Treaty. At present, less than 2% of the global oceans are properly protected and 93% percent of fish populations are now fully or overfished. Companies are looking to expand deep sea mining with little oversight, and our oceans continue to be blighted by plastic pollution and the impacts of climate change with no global attempt to restore them.
Scientists recommend that, in order to bring our global oceans back to health and increase resilience to climate change, at least 30% should be placed off limits to human exploitation, via a global network of ocean sanctuaries, by 2030. A strong Global Ocean Treaty would create the mechanism to deliver this goal, through allowing governments to work together to establish fully protected areas on the high seas – the waters which lie beyond national jurisdiction and account for two thirds of the world’s oceans.
The UK government has committed many times to protecting 30% of land and seas by 2030, including through establishing the 71-country strong Global Ocean Alliance. At Greenpeace’s April 2019 ‘Protect the Oceans’ event at City Hall in London, then Environment Secretary Michael Gove said:
“…we are approaching a tipping point when it comes to the environment, and particularly when it comes to our marine environment – which is why the level of ambition and the detail outlined in the 30 by 30 report is so compelling and so important.”
Despite this, it is not clear whether a government minister will attend the final round of Treaty negotiations. It is also not clear whether the UK supports establishing a strong version of the Treaty that will help to properly protect global oceans, rather than simply negotiating an agreement which would support business as usual.
Greenpeace launched the Global Oceans Campaign in 2019. Now over 100 countries are backing the call for 30% of ocean protection by 2030, along with over 4 million people worldwide.
Ed: West England Bylines supports many organisations whose objective is to improve our environment. This is from a press release from Greenpeace.