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Press release from Ministry for Foreign Affairs

UN agrees on increased protection of oceans


Yesterday, the UN unanimously adopted a global ocean agreement. The agreement establishes global rules to limit environmental impacts on marine areas beyond national jurisdiction, which make up 95 per cent of the world’s ocean volume and two-thirds of its surface area.

“Now at last there are global rules for how States can use the world’s oceans. This is an important development of international law. Sweden, together with the European Commission, has led the negotiations on behalf of the EU. It is now important that States sign and ratify the agreement as soon as possible so that it can enter into force,” says Minister for Foreign Affairs Tobias Billstrom.

Negotiations on an agreement for the protection of marine biodiversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction have been under way for more than 15 years. The goal has been to fill in the gaps that were left when the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea was adopted in 1982. The new agreement includes: rules for marine protection areas, environmental impact statements, marine genetic resources, and capacity-building and technology transfer.

Preventing negative environmental impacts in particularly valuable marine areas is crucial to strengthening the resilience of marine life to climate change and human impacts. Sweden and the EU support the UN’s goal to protect 30 per cent of the world’s oceans.

“This is the most important international environmental agreement since the Paris Agreement and provides significantly improved opportunities to protect biodiversity and combat climate change. We are now preparing to become a contracting party and are assessing how our own legislation must be adapted,” says Minister for Climate and the Environment Romina Pourmokhtari.

Press contact

Anna Erhardt
Press Secretary to Minister for Foreign Affairs Tobias Billström
Phone (switchboard) +46 8 405 10 00
Mobile +46 76 130 85 34
email to Anna Erhardt
Niki Westerberg
Press Secretary to Minister for Climate and the Environment Romina Pourmokhtari
Phone (switchboard) +46 8 405 10 00
Mobile +46 70 250 59 40
email to Niki Westerberg