Javier Bardem urges UN to protect oceans

Javier Bardem has urged UN delegates drafting an ocean protection treaty to make it strong.
Javier Bardem has urged UN delegates drafting an ocean protection treaty to make it strong.

Spanish actor and environmental activist Javier Bardem has addressed UN delegates drafting an international treaty to protect oceans, urging them to make it a document "that can create safe havens for marine life to recover."

"Our oceans are on the verge of collapse, and we have all played a huge role in this," Bardem said. "Now we must all play our part, especially you in this room."

He was speaking in the conference room where delegates from the world's nations will meet over the next two weeks for the third of four treaty drafting sessions.

Bardem said the biggest mistake delegates can make is not to take seriously the threat of a possible catastrophe.

He cited the ills that have made the oceans unhealthy: plastic pollution, over-fishing, mining, drilling, ocean acidification "and of course, climate breakdown."

The drafting committee is expected to produce a draft treaty in 2020, with the aim of having it adopted as a legally binding document under The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. It will govern the conservation and use of plants and animals in the 64 per cent of the world's ocean waters that do not come under national jurisdictions.

Bardem was asked what message he would have for President Donald Trump, who announced two years ago that the US was withdrawing from the 2015 Paris climate agreement aimed at limiting greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming.

The actor said Trump and others who deny climate change should "pay attention to how nature is speaking to us constantly," including heat waves in Europe this summer and plastic on beaches everywhere.

He said he is "truly, deeply, honestly worried" about the future of his two children, aged 8 and 6. Bardem is married to actress Penelope Cruz.

Australian Associated Press