Agreement to protect world’s oceans praised by UK politicians and groups

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Boris Johnson is among the UK politicians and campaign groups welcoming a historic agreement to protect the world’s oceans, saying it is “time to stop the plunder and the pollution”.

United Nations members on Saturday agreed on a unified treaty to protect biodiversity in the high seas – which make up nearly half the planet’s surface – after years of negotiations.

The agreement was lauded as the “biggest conservation victory ever” by one campaign group, as political figures including the former prime minister praised the announcement.

Mr Johnson said on Twitter: “This is wonderful news for the world. It’s time to stop the plunder and the pollution of our seas.

“I am proud of the way the UK has helped to lead.”

Foreign Office minister Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park tweeted: “This really is a historic moment.

“The ocean covers two-thirds of the planet, provides half the oxygen we breathe, absorbs vast amounts of CO2 & provides food for billions.

“This treaty will mean much greater protection.”

UN General Assembly
Boris Johnson and Lord Goldsmith (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea was implemented in 1994.

An updated framework to protect marine life in the regions outside national boundary waters, known as the high seas, had been discussed for more than 20 years.

The unified agreement was reached late on Saturday after two weeks of talks in New York.

Environmental campaign group Friends of the Earth said: “Ending the weekend with some positive news. Nations have reached a historic agreement to protect the world’s oceans following 10 years of negotiations.

“The High Seas Treaty aims to place 30% of the seas into protected areas by 2030, to safeguard and recuperate marine nature.”

Greenpeace UK said: “It’s the biggest conservation victory ever!”

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