Thank you for contacting me about the state of the world's oceans.
Increasing sea temperatures, deoxygenation, acidification, habitat loss, overfishing and pollution are all damaging the world’s marine environments, threatening marine life and habitats. For that reason, the UK Government last year launched the Global Ocean Alliance to help drive urgent action to safeguard the ocean and protect its precious wildlife. The UK-led international coalition aims to tackle these impacts and safeguard at least 30 per cent of the global ocean in Marine Protected Areas by 2030.
As well as being the first country to commit to net-zero emissions by 2050, the UK led the call for a global 30 per cent ocean protection target at the 2018 United Nations General Assembly – and countries from Belize to Belgium are backing the initiative, as part of a nature-based solutions to improve ocean resilience.
The UK is at the forefront of marine protection With 357 Marine Protected Areas. Last year the government designated 41 new Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs), spanning almost 12,000 square kilometres – an area almost eight times the size of Greater London – for a total of 91 MCZs. This means that 40% of English waters are designated as marine protection areas – setting an example for the rest of the world to follow.
At the United Nations General Assembly in September 2019, the UK Prime Minister announced a Global Ocean Alliance of countries in initial support of the 30by30 target. Countries that have signed up so far include: Belgium, Belize, Costa Rica, Finland, Gabon, Kenya, Nigeria, Palau, Portugal, Seychelles, Sweden and Vanuatu.
This year, the UK Government invited all countries to sign up to this ambition, with the aim that the 30by30 marine protection target will be agreed as part of a new global biodiversity framework at the Convention on Biological Diversity Conference of Parties in October 2020. This would go far further than the current target set at 10%.
Of course, the global Covid-19 pandemic has diverted energy and attention but the UK Government remains committed to achieving what it sees as vital goals.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Craig Whittaker MP