Philippines Advocates Treaty to Preserve Marine Biodiversity

The Philippines is advocating the treaty to help preserve marine biodiversity which will benefit other countries.
A frog fish or angler fish in Malapascua Island in the Philippines patiently waits for its meal.

The advocated international agreement will provide environmental impact perspectives to preserve marine biodiversity.  It will likewise authorize the partaking of marine genetic resources between countries. Additionally, it will allow the transfer of marine technology to developing countries.

Support to Preserve Marine Biodiversity

The Philippines supports requests to conclude a landmark agreement in biodiversity management and preservation. According to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the government emphasised the urgency to care for ocean life. It needs protection from climate change impacts, overfishing, and other threats to various marine species.

Different nations congregate at the United Nations headquarters in New York to conclude the preservation of marine biodiversity. Unfortunately, nothing was finalized during the two-week meeting. The said assembly was the fourth and the last one. However, they will schedule another session slated for this coming August.

Ambassador Enrique Manalo noted that exploiting resources in the international waters endangers the entire marine ecosystem. A treaty that would harbour marine biodiversity in the oceans could monitor and manage these areas. Manalo is the Permanent Representative of the Philippines to the United Nations in New York.

Nations pursue to forge a lawfully binding agreement to protect and preserve marine biodiversity in the oceans since international law doesn’t address it. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) encourages the protection of oceans. However, they don’t provide ways to develop and enforce conservation measures at the moment.

“The instrument is expected to address marine environmental degradation and climate change-related impacts on marine biodiversity. The unique geography of the Philippines as an archipelagic State makes the country entirely dependent on the sea, and the country’s ecosystem is affected by changes in the larger ocean ecology,” the DFA said.

What is the Treaty All About?

According to the treaty, it will develop marine protected areas where fishing activities will be off-limits. Or it will only allow “limited exploitation.” These zones adjoining marine reserves in territorial waters will likewise watch over migratory species such as whales and tuna.

Moreover, the alliance will deliver environmental effect perspectives. It also authorizes the exchange of marine genetic resources between countries. The treaty will support the commissioning of marine technology in developing countries.

The treaty’s adoption requires 193 nations to reach an accord on its texts and provisions. Experts supported the agreement, calling it a “game-changer” in preserving marine biodiversity.

The Philippines as Epicenter of Marine Biodiversity

The Philippines shapes an ocean region recognized as the world’s epicentre of marine biodiversity. According to the Carpenter 2005 report, the country has the richest convergence of ocean life in the whole world.

“Scientists have long known that the area in Southeast Asia that includes Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines holds the richest marine biodiversity. I was amazed to discover that the extreme centre of this biodiversity is in the Philippines, rather than closer to the equator. However, a geographical information system (GIS) analysis of this extensive database clearly shows this pattern,” said Kent Carpenter, Old Dominion University associate professor of biological sciences.

It’s not yet known the full range of the Philippines’ marine biodiversity. However, the information shows that the country has a huge variety of marine life. It includes 5,000 species of clams, snails and molluscs, 488 species of corals, and 981 species of bottom-living algae, to name a few.

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