The high seas span a vast area and make up nearly two-thirds of the world’s oceans. These waters fall outside of national jurisdictions and existing governance frameworks are not adequate to ensure their protection. What can be done to protect marine biodiversity and to foster the sustainable exploitation of marine resources in these areas?

This challenge is central to the STRONG High Seas project – Strengthening Regional Ocean Governance for the High Seas. Focusing on the Southeast Atlantic and the Southeast Pacific regions, the project will promote and facilitate the development of integrated and cross-sectoral approaches to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ).

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Building on the interest of both regions and on global political momentum, the researchers will identify best practices and provide support to regional institutions and national authorities in the implementation of existing instruments and the development of new ecosystem-based approaches for ocean governance in ABNJ. To this end, the project will advance technical and scientific cooperation, and propose ABNJ measures at the regional level.

The project will also initiate multi-stakeholder processes in both regions that bridge current sectoral divides. Experience will be shared with other regions and stakeholders to facilitate mutual learning and to identify common practices. In addition, this project will develop options for regional governance in a future international instrument under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and transfer lessons learned to the global level in order to support ocean governance at the relevant levels. At the end of this project, national decision-makers in these regions will have the knowledge, capacities, and tools needed to implement and strengthen ocean governance.


Briefing MCS high seas treaty

This project is part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI).

This five-year project will be coordinated by IASS and executed by several partners.

The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) support this initiative on the basis of a decision adopted by the German Bundestag.



  • 23 November 2021Webinar "Towards a better management of Western African marine resources" Watch the replay
  • 6 October 2021: Closed expert workshop on supporting blue recovery through regional cooperation". Organized by IDDRI, IASS, TMG Think Tank for Sustainability, in partnership with the European Commission, the United Nations Environment Programme and the Swedish Ministry of the Environment
  • 22 June 2021: 2nd expert workshop on "Inter-regional Dialogue on High Seas Governance, organized in the framework of the Strong High Seas project (in English and French)
  • 10 June 2021: 1st expert workshop on "Inter-regional Dialogue on High Seas Governance", organized in the framework of the Strong High Seas project (in English and French)
  • 5 & 6 May 2021: Expert workshop on "Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) of Human Activities in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ) in Western Africa"
  • 19 November 2020: Webinar "Strengthening Monitoring control and surveillance in the Southeast Pacific". Watch the replay
  • 17 November 2020: Webinar "Strengthening Monitoring control and surveillance through a High Seas Treaty". Watch the replay​​​

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