Reaction from the Antarctic Southern Ocean Coalition
Brest, France: The Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition welcomed the announcements from President Macron at the One Ocean Summit that will help safeguard further Antarctica’s waters. These include France publishing at the end of the month its first national polar strategy as well as the creation of the second largest marine protected area in the world around France’s Southern and Antarctic lands.
Macron also committed to continue work on the designation of the East Antarctic and Weddell Sea Marine Protected Areas in the international waters of the Southern Ocean and to work directly with President Xi of China and President Putin of Russia on the necessity to advance the agenda of biodiversity and climate protection in the region.
Pascal Lamy and Genevieve Pons, co-chairs of Antarctica2020: “It has been very encouraging to hear many times during the Summit the importance of creating marine protected areas in the Southern Ocean. While there is still no breakthrough in unlocking opposition, this Summit has given renewed conviction to leaders such as President Macron and President Von der Leyen to engage personally with Russia and China “to work to overcome differences” and ensure historic Antarctic Ocean protection this year.”
Marine protected areas are a key tool to build resilience to the vast changes happening in the region and to help protect species and habitats.
Three large marine-protected areas proposals are up for agreement at CCAMLR- the international organization tasked with conserving Antarctic marine life.
Claire Christian, Executive Director, Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition: This Summit highlighted that 2022 needs to be a year of action. That includes protecting the world’s largest remaining ocean wilderness from the threats of fishing and the climate crisis. Just recently scientists highlighted the catastrophic consequences of melting glaciers for Antarctic wildlife, such as penguins, whales and seals. We need all CCAMLR countries to work together at the highest level to ensure the designation of marine protected areas in the Southern Ocean happens this year”.
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