30 percent of world’s oceans must be protected by 2030
With the pressure of a growing population and increasing human activities, such as overexploitation, sedimentation, and pollution, world’s important marine resources are under serious threat, according to ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB).
That is why the zero draft of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity’s (CBD)
post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) proposed to raise the target of marine conservation to 30 percent of global oceans by 2030.
“With their vastness supporting the world’s largest volume of life, oceans serve as a food source for roughly 3.1 billion people and a source of livelihood for more than 500 million people around the globe,” ACB Executive Director Theresa Mundita S. Lim said.
“But apart from providing us food and livelihood, marine ecosystems produce most of the Earth’s oxygen, the reason they are called ‘lungs of the Earth’,” she added.
The 30 percent target is expected to be finalised along with other global goals at the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the CBD, which is supposed to take place this year.
There is a growing consensus among experts about the importance of protecting at least 30 percent of the ocean by establishing Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), which is deemed necessary to achieve a broad range of environmental and economic goals.
In a study on the global costs and benefits of expanding MPAs (Brander et. al, 2020), the expansion and ensuring their effective management can yield positive economic impacts. Marine reserves, where all extraction is prohibited, for example, can help conserve biodiversity by restoring the health of the oceans.
These likewise enhance fisheries productivity and in turn support food security for generations.
The increase in the target areas allocated to coastal and marine protected areas is ideal for the ASEAN region and can be achieved through cooperation mechanisms within ASEAN and partnerships with adjacent nations and regions, as well as other countries, which stand to benefit from bountiful fishery resources.