This brief proposes some avenues for the inclusion of marine spatial planning (MSP) in a new international legally binding agreement for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ), including general provisions, institutional implications, and possible models for an international MSP process.

Key messages

  • Negotiations for an international legally binding instrument (ILBI) regarding marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ) provide an opportunity to facilitate the development of marine spatial planning (MSP) in these areas.
  • MSP can be a key tool for implementing ecosystem-based management but it requires a framework for collecting, sharing, and updating scientific research.
  • A new ILBI could provide a foundation for MSP by refining existing obligations and provisions on cooperation and the integration of biodiversity into marine management.
  • The ILBI could set out a tailored process for MSP in ABNJ, including by defining the triggers for initiating MSP, establishing a mandate for cooperation and coordination, and providing oversight and review.
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  • Glen Wright,
  • Kristina M. Gjerde,
  • David E. Johnson,
  • Aria Ritz Finkelstein,
  • Maria Adelaide Ferreira,
  • Daniel C. Dunn,
  • Mariamalia Rodriguez Chaves