PERIODO: XX – XXI SECOLO
parole chiave: conservazione, protezione
Officers look out the window where Greenpeace activists have deployed a banner to call for Arctic protection. The action is carried out on the day that a group of countries, within an organisation called OSPAR (Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic), are meeting to agree on a long term protection for the Arctic region.
NOTE: The Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic (the OSPAR Convention) was open for signature at the Ministerial Meeting of the Oslo and Paris Commissions in Paris on 22 September 1992. It was adopted together with a Final Declaration and an Action Plan. The Convention has been signed and ratified by all of the Contracting Parties to the original Oslo or Paris Conventions (Belgium, Denmark, the European Union, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) along with Luxembourg and Switzerland.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably one of eight million people who dream of there being a sanctuary in the Arctic. And a year ago, you quite likely had a good feeling when you discovered that your voice, combined with others’, really works.
By joining together we managed to force one of the biggest oil companies in the world to abandon the Arctic. Shell had millions of dollars and a host of lawyers but we had the passion of millions of people. There are 18 days left before the OSPAR commission decides whether or not to protect a small piece of the Arctic. These international waters should be part of the heritage that belongs to the world, not to oil companies or fishing industries. Before our very eyes we can see how climate change is opening up a new ocean, which is still the least protected on the planet. If we can save this area of the Arctic, approximately 226,150 km2 will be protected. That’s right, only 10% of the Arctic will be safeguarded – but it’s a great start.
Unfortunately, Denmark, Norway and Iceland are blocking the whole process.
They don’t want the OSPAR Commission to make a decision on protecting this area of the Arctic during the meeting that starts on the 20th of June (in Tenerife, Spain). Despite being in international waters that do not belong to these three countries, and the fact the OSPAR Commission has the legal authority to protect the area, and even though the countries that form part of the Commission have acknowledged its environmental value, it’s quite possible that in 18 days’ time the proposal turns into a worthless scrap of paper. Will the members of the OSPAR, who have the obligation to protect the marine environment, give way to the interests of just a few?
Greenpeace ship the Arctic Sunrise on a trip to Svalbard to document the rapidly changing Arctic. Using a range of Virtual Reality video cameras to capture the stunning beauty of the last remnants of pristine wilderness, this immersive new technology allows us to bring people to the high Arctic, to witness for themselves the majestic landscapes and wildlife affected by humanities ruthless quest for resources.
We need you. Now is the time to raise your voice to ask for the protection of the Arctic. With you, we’ll reach the Arctic to claim its protection. You know why the Arctic is so important? Because everything that happens in the Arctic affects us all, even if we are thousands of kilometres away. The whole planet suffers the consequences of a vulnerable Arctic.
© Rasmus Törnqvist / Greenpeace
Add your voice; tell politicians why it is worth protecting the Arctic. We are 18 days away from a decision that could mark the real beginning of the Arctic Sanctuary. What is your reason for protecting the Arctic? Write it here and we’ll make sure it reaches the Arctic.
The author, Pilar Marcos, is an Environmental Biologist and MsC in Natural Resources and Wildlife Management, head of the Arctic Campaign team at Greenpeace Spain and have been the Marine Protected Areas programme coordinator of WWF Spain. She has been responsible of the MPA Network Proposal by WWF that pushed the Spanish Government to declare the first MPA offshore area at the Atlantic Sea, named El Cachucho. She had directly collaborated in the drafting of the marine chapters at Law 42/2007 on the Management of Natural Heritage and Biodiversity and had filed numerous complaints to the European Commission on the management of human activities. Pilar had a deep knowledge of the EU Habitats Directive and the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive and Geographic Information System (GIS). Actively working on the reform of the Coastal Law, marked one of the most successful campaigns of Greenpeace.
She is the editor of the reports Destrucción a Toda Costa. Worked also for the Spanish Cetacean Society on board different research vessels. Pilar had participated as an observer in several international agreements such as OSPAR, Barcelona Convention and General Fisheries Commission of the Mediterranean – FAO. Published hundreds reports, TV shows and several scientific articles. Education : University of Missouri (Columbia, MS, USA) Fisheries & Natural Res.