Rashid Sumaila signatory to Malta Declaration

The United Nations’ Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) established a target of 10% of the ocean to be protected by 2020 (‘Aichi Target 11’). The UN Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG 14) reinforces this commitment. Many scientists argue the 10% target is a first milestone for global ocean protection, not an endpoint. Scientific studies suggest that at least 30% of the ocean should be protected to achieve the desired benefits (1). Echoing the need for greater protection, the IUCN World Conservation Congress in 2016 adopted the goal of 30% by 2030. However, despite remarkable progress in the last decade, we need to do much more to reach even the 10% goal by 2020. To make matters more challenging, many areas claimed by some countries as “protected” are, in fact, not protected. Only those protected areas that prohibit extractive or destructive activities are in fact protected. Therefore, ‘fully protected’ or ‘strongly protected’ marine reserves should be the protected areas of choice to achieve CBD’s and the SDG’s targets of global ocean protection. We hereby commit to working with the broader community to clarify and harmonize the language and approaches to achieve meaningful protection of coastal and ocean biodiversity, consistent with the Aichi and SDG goals.

View complete declaration here.