Negotiators meeting in Rio, Brazil at the Earth Summit known as Rio+20 have finalized a 49-page document which will now go to Heads of State. The language on oceans was the last to be “closed,” making it one of the most controversial sections of the negotiations.
Reacting to the latest version, Susan Lieberman, director of international policy for the Pew Environment Group, said:
“After a year of hard work, the outcome for the ocean is mixed. There are strong recommendations on ending overfishing, taking action to stop illegal fishing, phasing out harmful subsidies, eliminating destructive fishing practices and protecting vulnerable marine ecosystems. In addition, there is a commitment to make regional fisheries management organizations more transparent and accountable. We very much look forward to countries following through on these commitments so that there is effective progress toward securing sustainable fisheries and ensuring healthy marine ecosystems for the future.”
“On a less positive note, we had hoped for clear direction from world leaders on the need for collaborative action to conserve high seas biodiversity. While the agreed upon text recognizes the importance of this issue, one disappointingly weak paragraph only calls on governments to make a decision within two and a half years on whether to take action.
“Given that scientists around the world are warning of the recognized cumulative impacts on ocean systems from pollution, overfishing, acidification and climate change, global leaders shouldn't be postponing such important decisions on the ocean.”
“As government leaders arrived today, we urge them to commit to implement the positive ocean decisions in this document, and to protect marine life on the high seas.”