Publication Details

Ardron, J., Rayfuse, R., Gjerde, K. and Warner, R. (2014). The sustainable use and conservation of biodiversity in ABNJ: What can be achieved using existing international agreements?. Marine Policy, vol.49, pp98-108.


Attention has recently been given to shortcomings and gaps in the governance regime for marine areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ), especially with regard to the conservation of marine biodiversity. This paper provides a brief overview of existing ABNJ treaties and their associated governance bodies. Examples of the manner in which some gaps have been (or are in the process of being) filled are outlined. These examples suggest that given the political will, existing bodies could achieve significantly more. Additionally, greater involvement from those conservation conventions that have already proven themselves to be effective in areas under national jurisdiction, such as CITES and the World Heritage Convention, could likely be beneficial in ABNJ as well. However, the current arrangement of single-sector institutions poses difficulties when attempting comprehensive measures that require cooperation beyond individual sectors, particularly between sectoral and conservation bodies. Nevertheless, measures that would aid in the protection of biodiversity could, and should, be developed. To ensure their success, the active exploration and testing of new cooperative governance arrangement(s) will be necessary. Methods to inspire sectoral organizations to act may also need to be developed.



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