Oceans of Opportunity and Challenge: Towards a Stronger Governance Framework for Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity in Marine Areas beyond National Jurisdiction
Marine areas beyond national jurisdiction cover approximately forty percent of the planet's surface. They host abundant marine biodiversity, which is under increasing pressure from activities such as fisheries and shipping as well as multiple sources of marine pollution and climate change impacts. The process initiated by the UN General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution 69/292 to develop the elements of an international legally binding treaty (ILBI) for conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ) has the potential to contribute to a more integrated and cross sectoral system of oceans governance at a global and regional scale. This article reviews the outcome of the Preparatory Committee meetings on the ILBI including areas of convergence and divergence among the negotiating parties. As the process enters the inter-governmental conference phase, it also examines how the anticipated ILBI might enhance existing ocean governance frameworks.