IN WHAT has been called a “landmark decision” by a United Nations Patron of the Oceans, the Government has called for one third of the world’s oceans to be safeguarded by 2030.
The Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, announced on Tuesday that the UK would be pressing other nations to sign up to the policy at the UN. “Protection of our oceans is a global challenge that requires global action,” he said. “The UK has already safeguarded vast swaths of precious marine habitats, but we must go further.”
Lewis Pugh, a UN Patron of the Oceans who recently completely a 328-mile swim along the length of the English Channel to highlight the need for ocean conservation, said that the policy took his breath away. “If this is supported by other nations and followed through, it will be the most important moment for ocean conservation in history,” he said.
While welcoming the “landmark decision”, however, he went on to say: “We need to focus not only on the number but the nature of the protection. Fully protected MPAs [Marine Protected Areas] is what it takes for these oceans to recover fully. Without this, a protected area is like a frame without a picture.”
Thérèse Coffey, an environment minister who was present at the UN General Assembly in New York this week, said: “It is only by working with our counterparts internationally that we can truly bring about global change.”