Pew Encouraged that Ocean Protection is on Rio+20 Agenda
High Seas Recognized as Critical for Sustainable Development in UN Process
Global political leaders will convene in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil this June, which marks the 20th anniversary of the original UN Earth Summit, to evaluate progress toward achieving goals on sustainable development. On January 10, the first draft of the 'negotiating text,' a blueprint for the agenda of the Rio+20 conference, was released. This document will now form the basis of final text subject to government discussion and debate.
Susan Lieberman, director of International Policy at the Pew Environment Group, said: "We are delighted that although the ocean took a back seat in 1992 at the initial Earth Summit, growing support from countries around the world has now led to its inclusion as one of seven priorities for discussion in Rio. This is a clear recognition that the health of the ocean is vital to sustainable development.
"This draft of the 'outcome document' includes a number of positive marine proposals, including a move toward negotiating a new, legally binding agreement under the UN for the conservation of biodiversity on the high seas, where currently few rules exist. While these are important issues, we also encourage the addition of text that addresses unsustainable fisheries and illegal fishing.
"We hope that between now and June, governments will agree to the current proposed language and add strengthening elements that will help halt overfishing, address destructive fishing practices, and lead to better monitoring and enforcement. We call on governments to take strong, meaningful action for the ocean and the vast diversity of life within it at Rio in 2012."
The Pew Environment Group is the conservation arm of The Pew Charitable Trusts, a nongovernmental organization that works globally to establish pragmatic, science-based policies that protect our oceans, preserve our wildlands, and promote clean energy. For more information, visit www.PewEnvironment.org .