Preserving diversity: 30 % by 2030
Our commitment to protecting our oceans
How much ocean does man need, how much ocean does the earth need? We must raise this question now, before too much is destroyed. According to numerous scientists, 30 % of the oceans and, if possible, 30 % of the land area must be protected by 2030. This is the only way to preserve at least some of the biodiversity on this planet. Otherwise the overexploitation will continue: most fishing grounds are already overfished, many species of shark and even the large tuna species, such as the bluefin tuna, are almost extinct. This is why other scientists, such as the famous entomologist Edward O. Wilson, are demanding as much as 50 %. This is because climate change is accelerating the extinction of these species.
The global goal of protecting 30 % of the world’s oceans can be adopted by the international community at the next Conference on Biological Diversity (CBD). Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, it will not be adopted until autumn next year. To set an example, a number of states have now joined forces to form the Global Ocean Alliance (GOA). They are promoting the 30 % by 2030 target, including the UK and also Germany. This was one of the goals we wanted to achieve last year.
Around 64 % of the sea surface is in international waters. It is precisely in these areas where it is important to put large zones under protection. However, apart from the Antarctic, there are hardly any areas where this is legally possible.
First of all, a High Seas Treaty must be created within the framework of the international “Law of the Sea“ (UNCLOS), which can provide the framework for such marine protected areas, among other things. There is a clear mandate from the United Nations this convention. We are actively working on such a High Seas Treaty together with a number of other international environmental organisations.
Another important aspect of our work is Antarctica and the surrounding Southern Ocean. Protected areas are already possible here, and three such protected areas are currently under discussion. Together with the already existing Ross Sea MPA, they are to form a network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). There is a strong majority of the 25 members of the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Resources (CCAMLR), which are behind the creation of this network. However, Russia and China are currently still blocking this decision. This is why we are calling on the German government, among others, to use all diplomatic means at the highest level to urge Presidents Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping to support this. In the meantime, the German Bundestag has also joined this demand. So far, not much seems to have happened because these two countries have continued their blockade policy this year – the proposal to protect the Weddell Sea failed in October 2020.
We therefore urge Chancellor Angela Merkel and Heiko Maas, Minister of Foreign Affairs, to take action and to emphasise the global importance of these protected areas in their talks with these two governments.
The World Future Council wants a future with healthy oceans. We are therefore committed to the CBD, CCAMLR and the coming High Seas treaty and inform the participants about the global situation, about possible solutions and try to convince them of the need to protect large parts of the marine environment.