After 15 years of discussions and five rounds of UN-led negotiations, more than 100 countries have agreed on a U.N. treaty to protect the high seas, as reported by Reuters on March 5. Covering two-thirds of the ocean outside national boundaries, the treaty is crucial to achieving the 30×30 pledge made by countries at the UN biodiversity conference in December 2021 to protect a third of the sea (and land) by 2030. The treaty establishes a conference of parties (COP) and will allow member states to be held accountable on governance and biodiversity issues. The European Union, United States, United Kingdom, and China played a vital role in brokering the deal.
The 30×30 pledge is a global initiative aimed at conserving 30% of the planet’s land and oceans by 2030. This target was agreed upon by over 190 countries at the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 2010 and has since been adopted by various governments and organizations worldwide. The pledge is considered a crucial step in protecting biodiversity, ecosystem services, and mitigating the impacts of climate change. It involves the establishment of protected areas, restoration of degraded ecosystems, and promotion of sustainable land and ocean management practices. The success of the 30×30 pledge depends on strong political will, collaboration among stakeholders, and innovative conservation strategies.