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Governance of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction at the regional level: filling the gaps and strengthening the framework for action

Studies N°04/2012. Iddri, 2012. 102 p.
Résumé Case studies from the North-East Atlantic, Southern Ocean, Western Indian Ocean, South West Pacific and the Sargasso Sea

Un article consacré aux cadres régionaux de gouvernance de la biodiversité marine en haute mer, à leurs atouts et insuffisances, et à leur nécessaire interaction avec le niveau global de négociation, de décision et de mise en œuvre des accords.

Points clés [en anglais] :

PROTECTING MARINE BIODIVERSITY IN AREAS BEYOND NATIONAL JURISDICTION AT THE REGIONAL LEVEL

Marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ) is currently at the heart of various international negotiations, including a process held under the auspices of the United Nations General Assembly. This process may, in the future, lead to the adoption of an implementing agreement to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) on the subject. However, while discussions are ongoing, it is becoming more and more apparent that action at the regional level is needed. Indeed, the regional level is today the most operational level and progress made within regional frameworks could positively influence discussions in other international fora.

FIVE CASE STUDIES

In order to address this issue, this study analyses five different regional frameworks, highlighting their major gaps and defining options for their closure. In the North-East Atlantic and in the Southern Ocean, protection is being established through regional conventions which have a mandate for ABNJ. In the Western Indian Ocean and in the South West Pacific, major institutional gaps exist, which need to be closed through appropriate actions. Finally, in the Sargasso Sea, where there is no regional framework in place, actions have been undertaken by an Alliance formed with public and private partners.

THE COMPLEMENTARY ROLES OF THE REGIONAL AND GLOBAL LEVELS

Although each region described in the study has its particularities, there are a number of issues which are common to all, such as the third and free rider States issue or the question of coordination and cooperation within the regional organisations and between these organisations and the global organisations. A solution to these issues will only be found at the global level. In this respect, the two levels (global/regional) must be seen as complementary, especially if an implementing agreement to UNCLOS on marine biodiversity in ABNJ is adopted in the near future.