Campaign for Nature and 30X30 Ocean Alliance Submit Intervention to the Convention on Biological Diversity

Alliance reiterates the need to protect and conserve at least 30 percent of the ocean through highly and fully protected marine areas and other effective area-based conservation measures


Nairobi, Kenya, August 29, 2019 - This week in Nairobi, Kenya, the Convention on Biological Diversity, or CBD as it is called, kicked off a year-long process to develop a ten-year, post-2020, global biodiversity framework that will be adopted at the conference of parties meeting in China in October 2020. At this meeting, the 30X30 Ocean Alliance, that includes the Campaign for Nature, Conservation International, National Geographic Society, The Pew Charitable Trusts, Oceans5, and the Wildlife Conservation Society, submitted an intervention expressing the alliance’s goal of protecting or conserving at least 30 percent of the ocean through highly and fully protected marine protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures that demonstrate comparable benefits for biodiversity.

On Tuesday, August 27, at the opening of the four-day meeting, the alliance made the following intervention:

Convention on Biological Diversity Open-Ended Working Group Intervention from 30x30 Ocean Alliance

On behalf of the 30X30 Ocean Alliance — including Conservation International, Campaign for Nature, National Geographic Society, Oceans 5, The Pew Charitable Trusts, and the Wildlife Conservation Society— we welcome this opportunity to offer our comments.

We support the proposed outcome-based focus of the new framework in both the Open-Ended Working Group elements paper and the co-chair’s Non-Paper 02, with a focus on securing healthy ecosystems.

When we look to how these outcomes can be achieved, we urge parties to include in the post-2020 framework a commitment to protect and conserve at least 30 percent of the ocean through a combination of highly and fully protected marine protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures that deliver comparable benefits for biodiversity.

The ocean produces 50% of the oxygen we breathe, influences the weather, and provides food, livelihoods, and recreation for billions of people. Scientists affirm that no-take marine protected areas are important in sustaining and increasing biodiversity, as well as abundance and biomass of ocean life, including threatened species.

The latest IPBES and IPCC reports highlight that healthy and functional marine ecosystems are critical not only for ocean life but also local and regional economies.

And ocean conservation is increasingly seen as a vital part of nature-based solutions to climate change. We welcome the upcoming ocean and area-based conservation measures consultations, and encourage the co-chairs and parties to make the ocean prominent in all of your discussions.

These consultations are particularly important because the ocean and ocean biodiversity face unprecedented threats. A changing climate is leading to warmer oceans, rising seas, and ocean acidification, which in turn impact marine and coastal species and ecosystems. Extractive industries and land-based pollution damage and pollute critical marine habitats. And unsustainable fishing continues to be one of the most significant impacts on marine biodiversity and ecosystems.

The ocean needs a line of defense, including area-based protections. Aichi Target 11 has worked to catalyze action. Percentage targets work to elevate the accountability toward meeting conservation goals. They also help to mobilize political will and funding. In fact, globally, marine protection has increased from 2.5 % to 7.68%, with varying degrees of implementation which the global community must work together toward improving.

We therefore must increase ambition to achieve at least 30% of the ocean protected and conserved by 2030 and combine this goal with other key elements such as effective and equitable management, ecological representativeness, connectivity, intactness, and emphasis on areas critical for biodiversity. We must also ensure community and indigenous voices are heard throughout the designation process for these sites.

We further recognize that it is insufficient to focus solely on protected areas; we must place this goal within the larger ambition of securing a 100% healthy ocean, with sustainable management practices outside protected and conserved areas. Many countries present here have already publicly supported this objective and we applaud them. Of these, several have already achieved or exceeded the 30% target in their national waters and are working to ensure effective implementation and management, and that conservation goals are met.

We are encouraged by the work underway on an international treaty to establish marine protected areas in the high seas, and similar efforts under regional organizations like Antarctic’s CCAMLR.

The ocean’s wild places are among our last remaining areas of hope, the Noah’s Ark of our generation. Let us ensure that the Open-Ended Working Group gives the ocean full consideration in these negotiations and resulting texts.

Thank you.