On a High Note: Colombia Becomes 1st Country in the West to Meet 30% Ocean Protections Pledge

Colombia Becomes 1st Country in the West to Meet 30% Ocean Protections Pledge

Last year, over 100 countries gathered at the 76th UN General Assembly, where they pledged to protect at least 30% of the global ocean by 2030 (AKA the 30x30 initiative) to enhance climate-change resiliency and prevent further biodiversity loss in the world’s oceans. The first country in the Western Hemisphere to reach that goal is Colombia, according to a recent announcement by the nation’s President Iván Duque.

Colombia’s extraordinary milestone comes after UN Secretary-General António Guterres declared an "ocean emergency” at the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon and called for immediate action on marine protections. Now, nearly one-third of Colombia’s oceans are part of protected areas that ban fishing and oil exploration.

Ocean degradation caused by pollution, overfishing, and global warming all contribute to significant marine biodiversity loss, sea level rise, and coastal erosion. Marine protected areas (MPAs) are one of the most effective tools to reverse these consequences and restore biodiversity and ecosystems. Still, less than 8% of the world’s oceans are part of one. In light of the fast-approaching 2030 deadline, nine nations in attendance at last month’s Summit of the Americas signed a declaration promising more significant collaboration efforts to establish and implement MPAs.

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NOAA: International Partnership on Marine Protected Areas, Biodiversity, and Climate Change, June 2, 2021.

UN: 'The ocean connects us all’ | UN Chief at the opening of the UN Ocean Conference 2022, June 27, 2022.

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