Oceanic ‘peace’ pact signed in Costa Rica ahead of 2025 UN talks

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A man waits in line in front of a tortule image on the ocean during the opening of the Immersed Change Ocean Protection Summit in San Jose on June 7, 2024. Authorities, scientists, and international experts agreed on June 7, 2024, on the need to act without delay to protect the oceans during a forum in Costa Rica in preparation for the crucial UN meeting in 2025 in France. Agence France-Presse

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SAN JOSE — Over two dozen countries signed a wishful “declaration of peace with the ocean” on Saturday in Costa Rica, as a multi-day meeting to prepare for a major UN conference next year wrapped up.

Among the signatories were Germany, Spain, Sweden, Canada, Colombia, Chile, Israel and South Korea, as well as Costa Rica and France, co-hosts of the third UN Ocean Conference to be held next June in the French city of Nice.

“We are committed to scaling up transformative ocean actions to support nature-positive economies based on the best available science and scientific information, traditional knowledge and innovation,” the document said.

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READ: French Embassy seeks ‘Blue Nations’ projects for UN meet in Nice

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About a year out from the major meeting, national representatives, scientists and international experts gathered this week in San Jose for two days of discussions to prepare for the conference.

“The ocean can no longer endure our mistreatment and indifference. That is why we in Costa Rica have decided that it is time for us to declare peace,” said Costa Rican Foreign Minister Arnoldo Andre Tinoco during the event.

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United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Social Affairs Li Junhua also said at the start of the “Immersed in Change” meeting that protecting the ocean was “not an option but an imperative.”

READ: Scientists at Spain meeting sound alarm over ocean warming

The peace declaration includes a call for twelve “Ocean Actions,” notably the implementation of several ocean-related international accords agreed to last year.

Those include a landmark high seas treaty that allows for the creation of marine protected areas outside of countries’ exclusive economic zones.

The treaty was adopted after more than 15 years of discussions to extend environmental protections to international waters which make up more than 60 percent of the world’s oceans.

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