Celebrating international support for Marine Protected Areas Around the Antarctic

Celebrating international support for Marine Protected Areas Around the Antarctic

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EJD welcomes the growing international support for the creation of Marine Protected Areas in the Southern Ocean and expresses high hopes that Russia and China will also join the club.

Europe Jacques Delors celebrates the growing international support for the creation of Marine Protected Areas in the Southern Ocean

According to Geneviève Pons, Director General of Europe Jacques Delors, the agreements and commitments that have been made on the protection of the Southern Ocean “give high hopes for the protection of our predominantly blue planet. The destruction of marine ecosystems and the loss of biodiversity in our ocean are clear signals telling us that we need to act urgently”.

One of the most important outcomes of the G7 summit was the joint communiqué, in which Leaders stated their full support of the commitment put forward by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources’ (CCAMLR) to develop a representative system of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the Southern Ocean. Specifically noteworthy was the G7’s 2030 Nature Compact mention of support for the establishment of MPAs in East Antarctica, the Weddell Sea and the Antarctic Peninsula.

“Three new marine protected areas around the Antarctic continent would be a key step towards creating an effective network beneficial for biodiversity and the climate. Covering 1% of the global ocean, they would greatly contribute to the goal of preserving at least 30% of the oceans by 2030”, states Geneviève Pons, Antarctica2020 Champion.

The need to protect the ocean was also present at the EU-US summit on 15th of June in Brussels, where leaders jointly pledged to “work together to protect our oceans” in many critical areas, including support for designating new MPAs in the Southern Ocean. For Geneviève Pons, the EU’s leadership in the designation of new MPAs in the East Antarctic and Weddell Sea “is an opportunity we must not miss, and a key step to affirm EU diplomatic leadership”.

President Macron's strong words at the close of the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM) on the 24th of June gives hope for the Antarctica2020 campaign’s success in designating new MPAs this year. “We will closely observe how leaders coordinate their actions to reach consensus ahead of the 2021 CCAMLR meeting in October to protect three large Antarctic marine areas. It is high time that action be taken, especially given the speed of changes caused by the climate crisis, as well as the disastrous impacts of the ongoing degradation in the region", emphasizes Geneviève Pons.

The capacity for China to show leadership during the hosting of the Convention on Biological Diversity’s COP15 in Kunming, wherein a new 10-year deal for nature will be agreed upon – including the agreement on the 30x30 target – “will strongly depend on its position at the upcoming CCAMLR meeting. “Their support for the creation of Antarctic MPAs is now a matter of political coherence and credibility as host of this critical conference on biodiversity”.

With regards to Russia, "their involvement in the creation of these MPAs would be consistent with their commitment to multilateralism and peace on the Antarctic continent, particularly given their role as one of the original signatories of the Antarctic Treaty in 1959. It would also be a celebration of Russia’s long Antarctic legacy, having discovered the continent more than two centuries ago.”

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