Groups Call for Global Support to Protect at Least 30 Percent of the Ocean

Statement to representatives of the Convention on Biological Diversity highlights broad benefits of a 2030 target

Global Support to Protect at Least 30 Percent of the Ocean

In 2021, the parties to the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) are expected to adopt a new 10-year global biodiversity framework with goals and targets for ocean protection.

In support of a growing call to protect and conserve 30% of the ocean by 2030, on Jan. 12 an informal coalition of nongovernmental and other civil society organizations shared with representatives from CBD a statement calling for a robust global biodiversity framework that will safeguard our ocean ecosystems for the long-term benefit of communities, fishers, biodiversity, and Earth’s climate.

Joint Statement on behalf of an informal coalition of NGOs and other civil society organizations at a stakeholder open webinar for the development of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework 

The statement was shared with representatives to the Convention on Biological Diversity at a stakeholder event on January 12, 2021 

This statement is on behalf of an informal coalition of NGOs and other civil society organizations supportive of protecting and conserving at least 30% of the global ocean. For the purposes of this statement that includes The Pew Charitable Trusts, Conservation International, Natural Resources Defense Council, Marine Conservation Institute, Wildlife Conservation Society, Ocean Unite, and International Fund for Animal Welfare.  

More than 70 countries now support the call to protect and conserve at least 30 percent of the global ocean by 2030, as part of the goal to sustainably manage 100 percent of the ocean. Most of these countries are members of the High Ambition Coalition led by Costa Rica and France, the Global Ocean Alliance led by the UK, the High-Level Ocean Panel led by Norway and Palau, and/or the Blue Leaders led by Belgium. 

The best available science tells us that we need to expand area-based conservation efforts in the ocean to conserve biodiversity and ecosystems, improve long-term food security, and protect ocean-based livelihoods. For nature to deliver maximum benefits, these areas must be free from harmful or industrial extraction or activities and we call on countries to ensure at least this level of protection in a 30 by 30 target. 

And increasingly ocean-based solutions to climate change, including the creation of effective marine protected areas, are seen as an important part of addressing the climate crisis. Ultimately, safeguarding our ocean ecosystems is good for communities, fishers, climate, and biodiversity.  

Thirty percent cannot be reached without respect for the rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities, their leadership, and free prior and informed consent. According to the Rapa Nui community leader Ludovic Burns Tuki, the creation of a large marine protected area around Easter Island helped the Rapa Nui progress toward the recognition of their ancestral rights and vision for the environment. Mr. Burns Tuki leads the community group Te Mau or Te Vaikava, which has officially endorsed the global 30% ocean target.   

A significant financial commitment will be needed to reach the goal of protecting and conserving at least 30% of the ocean. Countries like the UK, Germany, and Costa Rica have already established funding mechanisms that advance the 30 by 30 effort domestically and abroad, with more announcements expected soon. With additional government commitments, and together with private sector funding and the elimination of harmful subsidies, we can ensure we successfully meet this target! A recent report tells us that each dollar invested in ocean conservation delivers 5 times its value in benefits. 

In the words of Mr. Burns Tuki, “We need more humility as humans” and to give nature the respect it deserves, so we can “guarantee the future of the next generation, and this future begins now.” 

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