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‘Dangerous hypocrisy’

Greenpeace: EU ‘trying to weaken’ 30x30 target at Montreal Biodiversity Conference
Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod
‘Dangerous hypocrisy’

Greenpeace has accused the European Union of trying to weaken the global 30×30 target to protect at least 30% of the oceans and land by 2030, at the COP15 biodiversity talks in Montreal this week.

The EU is pushing for language in the 30×30 target which focuses on ‘management effectiveness’ in new protected areas.

This means that the impact of extractive fishing activities would be measured by how well managed these activities are in a protected area, instead of how well the area is protected from destructive activities overall.

A biodiversity crisis

The accusations are detailed in a letter sent by Greenpeace campaigners to ministers from governments around the world, urging them to live up to their commitments and fight to deliver the strongest 30×30 target possible, with all protected areas designated as fully or highly protected.

Additionally, the countries must also ensure crucial language on Indigenous rights is maintained in the final target.

‘Attempts by the EU and others to weaken 30×30 risk undermining this target before it’s even been agreed. If the EU successfully waters down 30×30, it will pave the way for areas protected under 30×30 becoming areas protected on paper but not in reality.

‘The EU’s attempts to undermine the 30×30 target are dangerous. The world is facing a biodiversity crisis of unprecedented proportions. Instead of taking ambitious action at the necessary scale, the EU and others are maintaining a broken status quo. Meanwhile, they keep telling the public they are ‘champions’ of nature. It’s dangerous hypocrisy on a global scale.’

Head of the Greenpeace International delegation to COP15

Why we need marine protected areas

Fully and highly protected marine areas allow minimal or no extractive or other damaging practices, such as fishing, mining and oil and gas development.

Studies have shown that fully and highly protected areas result in the greatest conservation benefits, while protected areas with less regulations and more human activities afford minimal conservation benefits.

Protecting biodiversity in fully and highly protected areas increases the abundance and diversity of marine life exported to surrounding areas, both securing food resources for millions of people and preventing loss of species.

Well-designed and managed fully and highly protected areas, and especially networks of such areas, would allow us to achieve international conservation goals, restore healthy oceans and conserve marine biodiversity.

Protecting half the planet

In February 2023, governments will resume the fifth and last round of negotiations to finalise a landmark Global Ocean Treaty that can protect half of the planet.

Delivering 30×30 at sea will only be achievable if a strong Treaty is agreed during this event, which Greenpeace says ‘must be the last’.

The previous round of negotiations ended in failure despite more than 50 governments, including the EU, promising to finalise a Treaty in 2022. 

A robust 30×30

Greenpeace campaigners from the UK are urging UK Environment Secretary Therese Coffey, who is attending COP 15 with DEFRA Minister Lord Benyon and FCDO Minister Zac Goldsmith, to use CBD to shore up support for a strong, meaningful Global Ocean Treaty – the mechanism via which the 30% protection target by 2030 being fought for under CBD COP15 can be delivered at sea.

Greenpeace UK is also calling on the Secretary of State to urgently use her influence with EU member states that support a robust 30×30, to encourage them to push the EU to strengthen its position.

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