From: Prime Sarmiento, SciDevNet, More from this Affiliate
Published June 9, 2012 08:37 AM

Open Ocean protection and Rio+20

Promises made at previous summits have not delivered enough protection for the oceans — campaigners are pushing for better results from Rio+20, writes Prime Sarmiento.


This month, scientists, campaigners and many developing nations are optimistic they will set in motion a deal on the conservation of the high seas at Rio+20 (UN Conference on Sustainable Development) in Brazil.

They argue that the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), agreed 30 years ago, does not address the welfare of the vast areas of ocean that are 'beyond national jurisdiction'.

Over the past decade, research has increasingly revealed the importance of marine life in the high seas for, among other things, maintaining the health of seas closer to shorelines.

Now many delegations want Rio+20 to agree to negotiations on a legal framework that might lead to protected areas in the high seas.

The latest round of 'informal-informal' negotiations for Rio+20, which finished last week (29 May–2 June) left a variety of opinions on how successful the conference will be at achieving such protection.

Fishermen going out to sea at sunrise on Zanzibar Island off the coast of Tanzania via Shutterstock.

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