I regret that the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) was not able to reach agreement on establishing marine protected areas, including in the Ross Sea Region, but we’ll soon get another bite at the apple and a formulation for protecting the Ross Sea can and will be found, period.
There's simply no comprehensive effort to protect earth's most critical resource that doesn't include an equally comprehensive effort to create marine protected areas (MPAs). That’s why the United States and New Zealand proposed the creation of these areas in the Ross Sea Region. A tremendous amount of work has gone into developing the science that underpins our joint proposal, and to leverage action, we'll be doubling down on sharing the findings of our scientists who spend those critical months in the dead of winter at McMurdo Station researching and understanding the realities that face all of us.
This is a longtime passion of mine and it's an imperative for me as Secretary of State. I’ve seen firsthand how acidification, pollution, and sea level rise tear at the fabric of our economies, our communities, even our security. But this isn’t just a personal priority. The Ross Sea is a natural laboratory. Its ecosystem is as diverse as it is productive, and we have a responsibility to protect it as environmental stewards—just as we do the rest of the ocean.
President Obama has put climate change and environmental conservation on the front burner where it belongs, and we have a responsibility to keep it there. Yes, the road has been harder than we hoped. But I am pleased that so many countries were willing to work together towards this crucial objective. While they were not able to reach full agreement at this meeting to designate MPAs for Antarctica, they came close. The majority of CCAMLR members were able to find common ground. We didn't agree on all of the specifics, but there's an emerging consensus that the Antarctic region requires protection.