High seas treaty ‘central to Pacific nations’ says campaigner

French Secretary of State for the Sea Hervé Berville, US actress and activist Jane Fonda, and Ocean and Polar advisor with Greenpeace Laura Meller participate in a media conference on the High Seas Treaty at the United Nations headquarters in New York. Photo: ANGELA WEISS/AFP

After close to two decades of negotiations, an historic United Nations ocean treaty has been agreed to protect marine biodiversity in international waters.

The agreement, referred to as the High Seas Treaty, will allow marine protected areas (MPAs) to be set up in international waters.

The treaty is in line with the 30×30 pledge made by countries at the UN biodiversity conference in December, to protect a third of the sea and land by 2030.

World Wildlife Fund New Zealand’s chief executive officer, Kayla Kingdon-Bebb, said the treaty would benefit Pacific nations.

“The ocean influences every aspect of life in the Pacific,” she said.

“It’s central to culture and sustains the well-being of Pacific nations, so what happens out in the deep sea is really significant.”