27/02-05/03 of 2023

Translated by: José Chaiça

A New UN agreement to protect the world’s oceans

The United Nations reached a consensus, this Saturday, after two decades of negotiations on the protection of the high seas, clarified the president of the conference, Rena Lee, stating that “the ship has reached the shore”. At the moment, only 1% of the high seas is protected, but the new international consensus will allow for more protected areas to be created, within what were considered as “res nullius” or “res communis”, in addition to the Exclusive Economic Zones.

Developing countries are concerned that the treaty is unfair, given the sensitive distribution of the potential benefits of exploiting the international waters resources. They feel that they lack the physical and financial resources to invest, in the possible trade of molecules, that are crucial to the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. They are now discussing the transfer of technology, to take greater advantage of potential gains from the blue economy, particularly marine genetic resources.

The Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, pointed out that the agreement was a “victory for multilateralism” and the environmental delegations attending the negotiations, namely Greenpeace and WWF, praised the consensus. The member states will also meet in 2024, in Greece, in the scope of the “Our Ocean” conference, where the COP15 commitment to protect up to 30% of the oceans by 2030, is expected to be extended.

Other news:

– In Greece, two trains were engaged in a railway accident that killed 57 out of 350 passengers, due to a collision between them. For a reason still unknown, both ended up on the same track.

– North Korea’s foreign affairs minister has called for the UN’s attention, to prevent the conduct of joint military manoeuvres, between the US and South Korea, that have been taking place since Pyongyang has recently resumed frequent nuclear missile tests.

– After a meeting with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, the IAEA director announced that Iran had agreed to resume and even increase the surveillance at its nuclear facilities, following rumours that the country was enriching uranium.

– German Chancellor Olaf Scholz warned Beijing of the consequences that would arise if China sent arms to Russia, following statements by Chinese diplomacy at the G20 conference.

– While speaking at a conference in New Delhi, Serguei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, reportedly referred to the war in Ukraine as one which was “launched against us”, which drew laughter from the audience.

– The presidential elections in Nigeria elected Bola Tinubu, aged 70, with nearly 8 million votes, despite opposition charges that the election was rigged.

– On the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan, in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh area, an exchange of gunshots ended in 5 deaths.

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