The High Seas Alliance welcomes the prioritization of critical ocean action in a Communiqué released on 16 April 2023 by G7 Climate, Energy and Environment ministers following two days of meetings in Sapporo, Japan.
In particular, it applauds ministers’ calls for “early entry into force and implementation” of the new High Seas Treaty, agreed by nations last month to advance protection and better management of marine biodiversity in areas of the ocean that lie beyond national jurisdictions. UN member states are due to formally adopt the treaty in New York on 19 June, at which point individual countries will have to ratify it through their own domestic legal processes. The sixtieth country to do so will start a hundred-and-twenty-day countdown, after which the global agreement will become international law.
“Given the critical role the ocean plays in the functioning of the climate and sustaining life on Earth, we’re very encouraged to see ministers from seven of the world’s richest nations putting ocean action and early ratification of the High Seas Treaty firmly on their collective environmental agenda,” said Rebecca Hubbard, Director of the High Seas Alliance.
The 35-page Communiqué outlines many key actions to tackle the climate and biodiversity crises and reaffirms the G7 countries’ commitment to implementing the G7 Ocean Deal, agreed under Germany’s Presidency in 2022. Ministers also reaffirmed their commitment to implement the global plan to safeguard nature agreed in December (the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework), including a target to protect at least 30% of land and sea by 2030 (30×30). Early ratification of the High Seas Treaty is critical for this because it provides the legal framework required to achieve 30×30 in these waters.
As influential countries with a collective agenda to tackle these vital global challenges, the G7 must take leadership to propel progress nationally, but also in the different regional and international fora they are active in. Driving these global environmental priorities within the G20 and getting the buy-in from this wider grouping of powerful countries on a common environmental agenda and early ratification of the High Seas Treaty will be indispensable for success in tackling the climate and biodiversity crises.
“Time is of the essence. We will be looking to the G7 to lead the charge in adopting and ratifying the High Seas Treaty so that we can swiftly put words into action on the water,” concluded Hubbard.
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