Member states have finally agreed on the first international treaty to combat threats to vital ecosystems for humanity. But it will be formally adopted at a later date.
"The ship has reached the shore” was the image that Rena Lee (the president of the intergovernmental) used during the conference being held at the United Nations headquarters, announced, on Saturday 4th of March.
After more than 15 years of discussions, including four years of formal negotiations, the third "last" session in New York was finally the right one, or almost. Delegates finalised the now substantively frozen text, but it will be formally adopted at a later date after it has been vetted by legal services and translated into the six official UN languages.
The exact content of the text was not immediately released but campaigners and environmental protesters hailed it as a landmark for biodiversity protection. "This is a historic day for conservation and a sign that in a divided world the protection of nature and people can triumph over geopolitics," said Laura Meller of Greenpeace.
After two weeks of intense discussions, including a marathon session on Friday night, delegates finalised a text that can no longer be significantly changed. "There will be no reopening or substantive discussions" on this issue, Ms Lee told negotiators.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres congratulated the delegates, according to a spokesman, who said the agreement was a "victory for multilateralism and for global efforts to counter destructive trends that threaten the health of the oceans, now and for generations to come”: