Canada One of Few Countries Blocking Agreement on Protecting High Seas Marine Diversity at Rio + 20
18 June 2012
Rio de Janeiro_Oceans are high on the agenda at the Rio + 20 Sustainable Development Conference in Rio de Janeiro this week. The conference itself has been referred to as the “Summit of the Seas” with hopes that the outcome includes an agreement to protect marine diversity on the high seas – 64% of the world’s oceans.
Members of the High Seas Alliance and the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition, including the Halifax based Ecology Action Centre, attending the Rio+20 UN sustainable development conference in Brazil issued the following statement on the ‘ocean’ section of the new negotiating text issued by the Brazilian government:
“Brazil should be applauded for making ocean conservation one of the four priorities for this meeting and we commend its leadership in steering a challenging process.”
“A new Treaty for High Seas protection will be a game changer for the future of our ocean and the millions dependent on it for their survival.”
“Rio+20 is the moment to finally create effective protection for the high seas and stop its uncontrolled destruction.”
“However Canada is one of a handful of countries currently blocking this critical measure. We can only hope that Environment Minister Peter Kent will deliver the change needed to secure a potential win for our ocean here in Rio.”
“We are surprised that Canada has been so immovable on this issue given its historical support for the UN Law of the Sea Convention, the UN Fish Stocks Agreement and the Convention on Biological Diversity. Their position is a major departure from the past.
“Many developing countries have been champions of sustainable fisheries to ensure food security and livelihoods. These issues will now be debated in the final days of this conference. “
Unlike many other countries at the conference, Canada does not have a civil society or NGO representative on its delegation. Canada has not scheduled any briefings with Canadian NGOs during the negotiations.
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