Australia joins UK-led alliance to protect global ocean

Australia has become the latest member of the Global Ocean Alliance, a 39-country strong initiative calling for at least 30 per cent of the world’s oceans to be designated as marine protected areas (MPAs) by 2030.

Several days ago, the UK Government in London welcomed Australia’s membership of the Global Ocean Alliance’s 30by30 initiative following a letter from Sussan Ley, Australian Minister for Environment, expressing the country’s commitment.

Minister Ley said that despite Australia having already exceeded its domestic target of formal protection of 30 per cent of its own oceans, that it was committed to helping achieve the 30 per cent global target by working with other nations.

“The world’s oceans provide more than half the oxygen we breathe, they regulate the climate and feed billions of people across the world,” Minister Ley said. 

“However threats from pollution, overfishing and changing climates are a global challenge, and that’s why we have joined the alliance calling for formal protection of 30 per cent of the world’s ocean by 2030.”

“We are now working with other countries to show that a 30 per cent target is achievable globally and that it can have countless benefits for both marine environments and sustainable ocean economies.”

The Australian Government has pledged over $67.4 million to protect Australia’s ocean and marine ecosystems including $14.8 million to tackle the impacts of ghost nets and plastic litter, and $28.3 million to enhance management of the Australian Marine Parks. 

In a separate statement, Greenpeace Australia Pacific welcomed the country’s commitment to protecting the world’s oceans.

“Protecting 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030 is a crucial step to not only ensuring that our oceans are protected from the worsening impacts of climate change, but that marine wildlife is protected from poaching, overfishing, and habitat destruction,” Nelli Stevenson, Greenpeace Australia Pacific spokesperson, commented.

“This is an important move by the Australian Federal Government, however, if it is serious about protecting our oceans it must also tackle the mining and burning of coal, oil and gas – key drivers of climate change which is already devastating our Great Barrier Reef and Tasmanian kelp forests at home in Australia.”

Led by the UK, Global Ocean Alliance 30by30 currently has 39 members including Australia, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Cabo Verde, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Denmark, Ecuador, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Germany, Guatemala, Honduras, Italy, Kenya, Luxembourg, Maldives, Mauritania, Monaco, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Palau, Panama, Portugal, Senegal, Seychelles, Spain, St Kitts and Nevis, Sweden, Togo, United Arab Emirates United Kingdom and Vanuatu.

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