Global Ocean Treaty negotiations at the UN – Greenpeace response

New York – Over 190 countries came together at the United Nations to negotiate a historic Global Ocean Treaty [1] that could help protect at least 30% of our seas by 2030. As the third round of UN negotiations draws to a close without serious commitment from most countries, Dr. Sandra Schoettner of Greenpeace’s Protect the Oceans campaign, said:

“It is very disappointing to see that the pace and ambition in this meeting don’t match the level of urgency required to save our oceans and protect our planet against the climate emergency and massive biodiversity loss we are facing.  The lack of political will for a progressive outcome of these negotiations is alarming as some countries clearly still favor exploitation over protection. Keeping things as they are is not going to save our oceans or, ultimately, humankind. 

That’s why it’s so frustrating to see UN members like the European Union proposing insufficient solutions that don’t represent a real change for our oceans. In addition, we expect more ambition from China, the host of the CBD CoP15, to be at the forefront of biodiversity protection. We also expect a maritime nation like Norway to take leadership in this process and are disappointed to see them push for a treaty that manages our global oceans in the same way which has brought them to the brink of collapse.

Now the stakes are even higher for the final stage of the negotiations. In 2020, world leaders need to deliver a Global Ocean Treaty that allows the creation of fully protected ocean sanctuaries in international waters. In order to seize this historic opportunity to safeguard our oceans for future generations, Greenpeace urges heads of states and ministers to commit to a strong Global Ocean Treaty – so that delegates in the negotiating room have a clear mandate to advocate progress instead of just managing defeat. The solution is right in front of us, now all we are missing is the political will to give a chance to our oceans and to the people who rely on it to survive.”


Photo and video:

For a free-to-use collection of ocean photo and video, see here


[1] For more information, see: Protect the Global Oceans: Why We Need a Global Ocean Treaty. For a detailed policy briefing see here

Javier Bardem went to the UN during the conference to address delegates directly and ask for ocean protection. More information here

Pole to Pole Expedition: Greenpeace is sailing from the Arctic to the Antarctic, undertaking research and investigations to highlight threats facing the oceans and to campaign for a Global Ocean Treaty covering all seas outside of national waters. Map of the ‘Pole to Pole’ route. See contacts below for expedition enquiries, including for media interested in joining the ship on-board.

Sandra Schoettner is an oceans campaigner at Greenpeace Germany 


Julia Zanolli, Global Media Lead for the Protect the Oceans campaign, Greenpeace UK:, +44 07971 769107

Greenpeace International Press Desk:, +31 (0) 20 718 2470 (available 24 hours)


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