All 193 United Nations members back the action to protect oceans

The 193 UN member nations issued an urgent call for action to reverse the decline in the health and productivity of the world’s oceans, with the United States backing the action plan but rejecting its support for the Paris agreement to tackle climate change.

Ministers and diplomats burst into applause as the final document was gavelled to approval by consensus at the end of the first-ever United Nations conference on oceans.

It recognised the critical importance of the world’s seas to the future of the planet they cover three quarters of.

They supply nearly half the oxygen that we breathe, absorb more than a quarter of the carbon dioxide we produce, provide food, and play key roles in water cycles and the climate system.

The government leaders called on people and organisations everywhere to take action to reverse the threats from plastic garbage, illegal and excessive fishing, rising sea levels that could wipe out small islands, and increasing acidity of ocean water that is killing marine life.

While the call for action was unanimously approved, countries are allowed to express reservations afterward.

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