Wright, G. and Rochette, J. (2018). Regional Ocean Governance of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction: Lessons Learnt and Ways Forward‘, STRONG High Seas Project.

Executive summary [excerpt]

This report provides an overview of a range of ongoing initiatives to improve governance of ABNJ at the regional level, including:

  • novel modalities, such as the “Collective Arrangement for the North-East Atlantic”, whereby the OSPAR Commission and the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC) seek to strengthen cooperation between organisations with a management mandate in the region;
  • coalition-based initiatives, such as the Sargasso Sea Commission and the Pelagos Sanctuary for Mediterranean Marine Mammals;
  • and the international legal framework of the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS), under which parties have agreed to develop a representative system of MPAs and have designated the world’s largest MPA in the Ross Sea.

These experiences provide a number of useful lessons learnt that can facilitate further development of regional initiatives and inform the construction of an efficient and effective new international treaty. In particular, this report highlights the need for:

  • effective mechanisms for cooperation and coordination between organisations with a management mandate in ABNJ;
  • the role played by champions and leaders with the political will to drive the process and garner support for improved management;
  • and the importance of developing a dynamic science-policy interface that can provide policy-relevant scientific information to decision makers and stakeholders.

In spite of significant efforts and progress, these experiences also suggest that negotiation of a new international treaty is an opportunity to bring coherence to a fragmented and ineffective governance regime, by providing additional support for improved cross-sectoral cooperation and fresh impetus for the establishment or strengthening of regional integration mechanisms.

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