Activists and environmentalists see the recent ocean conference as a missed opportunity. Environment Minister Lemke, on the other hand, emphasizes the positive aspects.

Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke (Greens) has drawn a positive balance of the second United Nations Ocean Conference.

It is “a great sign that so many heads of state and ministers have committed themselves to ocean protection,” said Lemke in an interview with the German Press Agency on Friday at the end of the five-day conference in Lisbon.

There was a lot of commitment in Lisbon. Unusual and “a very good sign”, for example, was the fact that the pre-negotiated final declaration in the Portuguese capital was not weakened by lobbying or political pressure, as was the case with other conference formats.

Among other things, Lemke acknowledged the fact that French President Emmanuel Macron even called for laws against deep-sea mining during his appearance in Lisbon. “That’s a very strong statement.” The G7 have “agreed on major hurdles for possible deep-sea mining, also on my initiative”.

Meanwhile, the Green politician also showed understanding for the criticism and concerns of environmentalists, who described the conference as a “missed opportunity”. It is “completely true that far too little has happened for ocean protection in recent decades”. Much more has to happen. “It is therefore good that the protest is also giving momentum for more government commitment.” Environmental protection and nature conservation will “not be a sure-fire success in the next few years, despite all the commitments to it”. It therefore needs “constant support and pressure from civil society”.