EU And US Pledge Billions In Ocean Aid
The state’s former secretary declared US commitments spanning about $6 billion across about 77 assignments to safeguard high seas this year, including the technical cooperations for facilitating “green shipping corridors”.
Similarly, the EU declared that it would be dedicating about 816.5 million euros to ocean-related assignments this year.
A significant slice of the EU money about — 320 million euros — will be spent toward research to safeguard marine biodiversity and simultaneously address the impacts of climate change on the seas, while 250 million euros will help introduce the Sentinel-1C satellite for observing ice melts and also supervise climate change impacts.
Laurentino Cortizo, the Panama President, reportedly signed a decree on Thursday to look into the enlargement of the Marine Protected Area (well-known as the MPA) of Banco Volcan from about 14,000 to a whopping 93,000 square kilometers (about 5,400 to almost 36,000 square miles).
Panama will now be conserving more than 54% of the ocean that falls inside the exclusive economic zone (EEZ), said the environment minister of the country, Milciades Concepcion.
Ocean under pressure
On the eve of the conference, relevant representatives of the EU, the US, Latin America, and the Pacific Islands called for a treaty on the high seas that has been a part of discussions at the UN for over 15 years, to be signed as soon as possible.
Delegates have been meeting in New York since 20 February to conclude a text in the latest rounds of discussions due to get over by Friday.
The high seas which aren’t under the jurisdiction of any nation represent over 60% of the oceans and almost half of the planet.
Other topics on the Our Ocean agenda cover expanding Marine Protected Areas and also building a sustainable and ocean-derived “blue economy.”
Spanning three-quarters of the Earth, the oceans are home to 80 percent of all life on the planet and provide nourishment for more than three billion people.
Since the first Our Ocean conference conducted in 2014, participating countries have committed over $108 billion and safeguarded five million square miles of ocean, per organizers.
Observers say that Our Ocean is a conference that addresses each ocean-related issue under a single roof.
It serves as a public stage for the governments to reflect on their political wills.
Conference delegates don’t adopt agreements but declare voluntary “commitments” concerning ocean protection.
The meeting takes place as multinational firms eye minerals lying on the ocean’s floors.
These include manganese nodules that are settled on the seabed, containing metals required in battery production.
Environmentalists opine that harvesting could devastate deep-sea ecosystems.
NGOs are concerned regarding overfishing, pushing for satellites to track the fishing fleets, at the conference.
Kerry declared that the US, Fiji, and Panama, are in discussion to build multiple “green shipping corridors.”
These would be particularly reserved for low- or zero-carbon vessels, per experts, while combating illegal catches as well as overfishing.
References: NDTV, France 24