• IB0416 GW et al. high seas
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Sea change: Negotiating a new agreement on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction

Issue Briefs N°04/2016. Iddri, 2016. 4 p.


  • Marine areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ) represent nearly half of the Planet’s surface and a significant amount of its biodiversity, but there are significant governance gaps that hinder effective conservation and sustainable use.
  • In 2015, after almost ten years of informal discussions, States agreed to launch negotiations for the elaboration of an international legally binding instrument dedicated to the conservation and sustainable use of the marine biological diversity of ABNJ.
  • The first meeting of a newly created Preparatory Committee will be held in March-April 2016, during which States will begin to navigate the complex issues at stake and discuss the elements of a new agreement, including the “Package Deal”, namely: marine genetic resources; area-based management tools; environmental impacts assessments; capacity building and the transfer of marine technology. Institutional arrangements, including issues regarding the relationship with existing organisations and agreements, will also be discussed.