After more than a decade of discussions, a “historic” agreement has been sealed at the UN to protect the world’s oceans.
Under the High Seas Treaty, 30% of international waters will be given protected status by 2030, compared with 1.2% which is currently protected.
It is believed that the treaty, which was hailed the “biggest conservation win ever” by officials and campaigners, will protect marine life against relentless damaging deep sea mining, exploration, fishing and shipping.
For the first time, the Treaty will require assessing the impact of economic activities on high-seas biodiversity.
Signed by 200 countries, the agreement was signed in New York on Saturday after a marathon 38-hour session.
In response to the announcement, Virginijus Sinkevicius, EU Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, commented: “With the agreement on the UN High Seas Treaty, we take a crucial step forward to preserve the marine life and biodiversity that are essential for us and the generations to come.
“It is also proof of strengthened multilateral cooperation with our partners and a major asset to implement our COP15 goal for 30% ocean protection.”
Greenpeace Campaigner Ellie Hooper said: “This is a historic day for conservation and a sign that in a divided world, protecting nature and people can triumph over geopolitics.
“We praise countries for seeking compromises, putting aside differences and delivering a Treaty that will let us protect the oceans, build our resilience to climate change and safeguard the lives and livelihoods of billions of people.”