Environmental protection groups called the UN ocean conference a missed opportunity to promise real action in an ecosystem struggling with overfishing, warming temperatures, pollution and acidification.
Numerous NGOs criticized the conference's closing declaration as non-committal and therefore meaningless. The five-day conference did not even present a report on the progress of the goals set out at the last UN oceans summit, which took place in 2017.
"We have seen many declarations before, we have heard many promises, pledges and voluntary commitments," said Laura Meller of Greenpeace. "But if declarations could save the oceans they wouldn't be on the brink of collapse."
Marco Lambertini, director-general of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), said, "The ocean, climate and coastal communities worldwide need real progress, not promises."