An updated and expanded version of this guide to the high seas negotiations, with forewords by Laurence Tubiana and Eden Charles.

Key messages

  • A vast global commons under increasing pressure

    Marine areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ) cover nearly half of the Earth’s surface and host a significant portion of its biodiversity. The remoteness of ABNJ and a lack of knowledge previously placed them beyond the reach of human activities. In recent decades, technological and scientific advancements, coupled with growing demand for resources, have increased interest in these areas and driven exploration and exploitation.
  • Negotiating a treaty to safeguard the health of the global Ocean

    The international community has become increasingly aware of the growing threats to marine biodiversity in ABNJ and have been discussing options to conserve and sustainably use their biodiversity. On 24 December 2017, following more than 10 years of discussions, the United Nations General Assembly decided to convene an intergovernmental conference (IGC) to negotiate an international legally binding instrument (ILBI).
  • A package of varied and complex issues

    Negotiations will cover the ‘Package Deal’ of issues agreed in 2011, namely: marine genetic resources (MGRs), including questions on the sharing of benefits; measures such as area-based management tools (ABMTs), including marine protected areas (MPAs); environmental impact assessments (EIA); and capacity-building and the transfer of marine technology.
  • An indispensable guide to the process

    The negotiations will begin in September 2018. It is important that States and stakeholders have a clear and comprehensive understanding of the history of the process, the issues discussed, State positions to date, and the challenges that may lie ahead. This report aims to provide a guide to the negotiations for both experienced participants and newcomers to the process.
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