Governments to meet at UN to discuss first ever “Ocean COP”

Governments will meet at the United Nations HQ in New York this week to work on the UN Ocean Treaty, for the first time since it opened for signatures in September 2023.


Governments will meet at the United Nations HQ in New York this week to work on the UN Ocean Treaty, for the first time since it opened for signatures in September 2023. The meeting will focus on bringing the Treaty to life at sea, ahead of its entry into force which will happen once at least 60 countries have ratified the Treaty.

Delegates must make decisions to ensure the first “Ocean COP” (Conference of Parties), which must be held within one year of the Treaty’s entry into force, will be able to progress the first high seas ocean sanctuary proposals and keep the target of protecting 30 percent of the world’s oceans by 2030 on track.

Meg Randles, who is leading Greenpeace’s delegation in New York, said:

“If governments really want to keep their promise to protect 30 percent of the world’s oceans by 2030, then they must make serious and significant progress this week in New York. This means leaving New York with a clear agreement on an ambitious program of work which will allow governments to hit the ground running when the Treaty enters into force in 2025 and deliver the protection at sea that our oceans so desperately need.”

Reshima Sharma, political campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said: 

“The UK played a strong role in negotiating this Treaty, but progress to sign it into UK law has since stalled. If the next government wants to be seen as a leader on ocean protection and biodiversity, it must announce legislation to ratify the Global Ocean Treaty in its first King’s Speech and complete ratification by the end of the year.”

Once the Global Ocean Treaty enters into force there will then be a series of Ocean COPs, where governments can deliver Marine Protected Areas on the high seas, eventually reaching the target of protecting 30% of the oceans by 2030. This target was agreed by all governments under the Convention on Biological Diversity in 2022.

The High Seas are home to millions of species and ecosystems, but less than 1% are fully protected. They are under increasing pressure from a range of threats, including industrial fishing, pollution and the emerging deep sea mining industry. To protect 30% of the oceans by 2030, we must protect more than 11 million km² of ocean every year. Greenpeace urges all governments to urgently ratify the Treaty. 

So far seven countries have ratified the Global Ocean Treaty (Palau, Chile, Belize, Seychelles, Monaco, Mauritius, Federated States of Micronesia). Earlier this month, France and the United States of America declared support for the entry into force of the treaty before the next UN Ocean Conference in Nice, June 2025. 

Greenpeace UK is calling on the UK government to ratify the Global Ocean Treaty by the end of the year, and to support other states across the world to do the same. Greenpeace is also calling for the UK government to work with other countries to develop a proposal for a high seas ocean sanctuary within the Sargasso Sea, the uniquely biodiverse part of the Atlantic Ocean that surrounds the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda.




In London: Alex Sedgwick +44 7973 873 155 /

In New York: James Hanson +44 7801 212 994 / 

Greenpeace International Press Desk:, +31 (0) 20 718 2470 (available 24 hours)


Notes for Editors: 

  • The Global Ocean Treaty can only come into force 120 days after 60 countries ratify it into national law.
  • For governments to reach the global goal of protecting at least 30% of the world’s ocean by 2030, the Global Ocean Treaty must enter into force next year. Greenpeace is calling for the Treaty to enter into force in time for the UN Ocean Conference in June 2025, meaning it must be ratified by February 2025 at the latest.
  • So far, the majority of ratifications have come from small island developing states. The success of the Treaty will depend on countries in the global north following the leadership of these states and prioritising ratification of the Treaty urgently.
  • Greenpeace UK is therefore calling on the UK to ratify by the end of 2024. For this to happen, primary legislation to ratify the Treaty must be announced in the King’s Speech on Wednesday 17th July.


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