More than 100 countries reached agreement on a United Nations treaty to protect the high seas, following marathon talks at U.N. headquarters in New York that ended late Saturday.
The High Seas Treaty will put 30 percent of the planet’s seas into protected areas by 2030, aiming to safeguard marine life.
“This is a massive success for multilateralism. An example of the transformation our world needs and the people we serve demand,” U.N. General Assembly President Csaba Kőrösi tweeted after the U.N. conference president, Rena Lee, announced the agreement.
The negotiations had been held up for years due to disagreements over funding and fishing rights.
“After many years of intense work under EU leadership, countries agree on ambitious actions,” Virginijus Sinkevičius, EU commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, said in a tweet. “This is major for the implementation of the COP15 30 percent ocean protection goal.”
The European Commission said the treaty will protect the oceans, combat environmental degradation, fight climate change and battle biodiversity loss.
“For the first time, the treaty will also require assessing the impact of economic activities on high seas biodiversity,” the Commission said in a statement. “Developing countries will be supported in their participation in and implementation of the new treaty by a strong capacity-building and marine technology transfer component,” it said.
“Countries must formally adopt the treaty and ratify it as quickly as possible to bring it into force, and then deliver the fully protected ocean sanctuaries our planet needs,” said Laura Meller, a Greenpeace oceans campaigner who attended the talks, according to a Reuters report.
The treaty will enter into force once 60 countries have ratified it.