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Protecting the Ocean We Need - Securing the Future We Want

MINISTERIAL MESSAGE FROM THE AJACCIO CONFERENCE ON OCEAN PROTECTION; CALLS FOR HIGH SEAS PROTECTION GROW

For immediate release - Responding to the release of a message by senior Ministers attending an Ocean meeting in Ajaccio, Corsica, the High Seas Alliance welcomed the strong support shown for legal measures to protect biodiversity in the high seas.

The Ministerial meeting, which was held under the patronage of French President Hollande and involved Ministers from around the world, 'solemnly' called for the international community to take the necessary steps to launch negotiations towards an Implementing Agreement under the UN Law of the Sea, before the end of 2014.

An Implementing Agreement will bring much needed legal mechanisms to safeguard the high seas, Kristina Gjerde of the IUCN, a member of the High Seas Alliance attending the meeting said: "It is highly significant to have so many senior Government Ministers recognise and support the need for accelerating progress towards high seas Marine Protected Areas through an Implementing Agreement and we hope that this message is heard at the UN and in capitals and urgently acted upon."

A UN meeting convened in August of this year to consider an Implementing Agreement – which is the subject of a UN Resolution arising from Rio+20 – failed to open the negotiations required, only committing to continue discussions.  Kristina Gjerde: "The more we hear from governments that they do want to see negotiations get under the way, the more pressure this will put on UN Negotiators to get going and bring much needed protection to so much of our planet."

The Ministerial Meeting (26 October) immediately follows IMPAC3, the International Marine Protected Areas Congress which was held in Marseilles. Marine Vice Chair of IUCN's World Commission on Protected Areas, Dan Lafoley said: "At IMPAC 3 we heard that we are changing the open ocean faster now than at any time in human history. A strong message of ambition, urgency and full protection has emerged from the Congress. Together with this key declaration I hope UN processes will now respond quickly, addressing the inequality and unjust nature of current arrangements."

ENDS

For further information please contact Mirella von Lindenfels on + 44 7717 844 352

Ajaccio Ministerial Message for the Conservation of the High Seas