UN Ocean Treaty opens for country signatures: Greenpeace comment


New York — Six months after its agreement, 68 governments have already signed the UN Ocean Treaty in New York City during the General Assembly high level week. Canada was not one of them. Greenpeace is urging governments to ratify the treaty in time for it to come into force by the UN Ocean Conference in Nice in 2025. 

To enter into force, 60 countries must ratify the Treaty.

Sarah King, head of Greenpeace Canada’s oceans and plastics campaign, said:

“Canada’s failure to sign the Global Ocean Treaty alongside 68 other countries better be the result of forgetting its pen and not forgetting its biodiversity protection commitments. What a disappointing display for a country that should show leadership on Treaty ratification and implementation given its three coasts, countless communities dependent on healthy oceans, and vocal support for 30 by 30.”

Scientists say that we must protect at least 30 per cent of the oceans by 2030 to halt their decline. Currently less than 1 per cent of the high seas are properly protected. The Treaty is intended to fill governance gaps, and provide a mechanism to create a network of ocean sanctuaries, in the high seas — areas beyond national jurisdiction. 

Mads Christensen, Interim Executive Director of Greenpeace International, said:

“We welcome so many governments signing the UN Ocean Treaty. This sends a powerful signal to the world that governments will maintain momentum towards protecting 30% of the oceans by 2030, after the historic Treaty agreement back in March. But this signing is a purely symbolic moment, now politicians must bring the Treaty home and ensure it is ratified in record time.

“We have less than seven years to protect 30% of the oceans, there is no time to waste. The race to ratification has begun and we urge countries to be ambitious, ratify the Treaty and make sure it enters into force in 2025.”

Greenpeace published a report last week setting out the political process to deliver protection. The report explores how cumulative pressures on the high seas are increasing, and quantifies for the first time the growing fishing activity in areas marked for protection, using data from Global Fishing Watch.

Alongside the report, Greenpeace partnered with Jane Fonda, Camila Cabello and Simon Pegg to produce an animated short film which follows the journey of three sea creatures as they escape the threats detailed in the report to find an ocean sanctuary.


Photo and video, including the short animated film mentioned above, are available here.

Pictures from previous mobilisations for the ocean treaty are available here.


Brandon Wei, Communications officer, Greenpeace Canada

[email protected]; +1 778 772-6138

Magali Rubino, Global media lead for Greenpeace’s Protect the Oceans campaign: [email protected] +33 7 78 41 78 78 (GMT+2)

Greenpeace International Press Desk: 

[email protected], +31 (0) 20 718 2470 (available 24 hours)


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