Tenerife conclave urged to create Arctic preserve

Greenpeace delivers signatures to save Arctic to OSPAR meeting in Tenerife. Photo: Pedro Armestre / Greenpeace
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• Greenpeace activists delivered 8 million signatures calling for Arctic protection
• North-Atlantic marine protection meeting in Tenerife to decide sanctuary issue

Greenpeace activists on Tuesday delivered to representatives of 15 western-European government and EU signatories to the 1992 OSPAR Convention (Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic) who are meeting this week on the Canary Island of Tenerife boxes containing more than 8 million signatures to its Save the Arctic petition from citizens around the world calling for protection of the Arctic region.

The Tenerife meeting is set to decide whether OSPAR, a cooperation mechanism for protection of the North-East Atlantic that incorporates and combines the 1972 Oslo Convention on dumping waste at sea and the 1974 Paris Convention on land-based sources of marine pollution, will include a 233,000 square kilometer are at the extreme north of the Arctic icecap as a protected area within the OSPAR convention. The sanctuary area, which represents only 8.3 percent of the entire area that Greenpeace says needs to be protected, was proposed to OSPAR in 2014 by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and is seen by Greenpeace as a starting point for efforts to protect the Arctic icecap.

OSPAR signatory countries backing the Arctic sanctuary proposal include Spain, which at this week’s meeting in Tenerife will end its five-year term presiding over the OSPAR mechanism, as well as Germany, France, Holland and Belgium. Greenpeace España spokesperson Pilar Marcos cautioned that northern signatories to OSPAR that include Denmark, Norway and Iceland are attempting to block OSPAR’s creation of the Arctic sanctuary, claiming Arctic protection should be the sole jurisdiction of the less environment-friendly Arctic Council of nations, which includes Russia, the United States and Canada.

► Read More in Spanish at and El Diario and El Día …

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