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Marine Protected Areas

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 182032, tabled on 16 April 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the ability of (a) Regional Fisheries Management Organisations and (b) sectoral bodies to deliver the management of global Marine Protected Areas in line with protecting 30 per cent of the world's oceans by 2030.

Answered on

26 April 2021

The UK is championing a target to protect at least 30% of the global ocean by 2030 (the ‘30by30’ target) through its leadership of the Global Ocean Alliance and as ocean co-chair of the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People.

Importantly, the UK supports the conclusion of negotiations on a new implementing Agreement under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ Agreement), which will have provisions that allow for the creation of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in these areas, a key mechanism to deliver ‘30by30’.

Recognising the important role that Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs) play in effective ocean governance, the UK has already joined five and is playing an active role in each of them. RFMOs and other sectoral bodies will be crucial to delivering some of the conservation objectives of the MPAs established under the BBNJ Agreement. This will require a positive relationship, including enhanced cooperation and coordination, between the new Agreement and these bodies.

To support this, the UK is in favour of a strong obligation on Parties to the new BBNJ Agreement to work within relevant bodies to deliver measures for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction.