By Magdalena A K Muir
World governments agreed last week that the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) should be expanded to include a new legally binding instrument on the conservation and sustainable use of marine life in areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ). The new ocean regulations include: area-based management tools, such as marine planning and marine protected areas, environmental impact assessment (EIA) requirements, the transfer of marine technology, and the regime for managing marine genetic resources, including benefit-sharing.
The decision to recommend proceeding with the new legally binding instrument on biodiversity in the ABNJ under UNCLOS emanated from the U.N.’s 9th meeting of the “Ad Hoc Open-ended Informal Working Group to study issues relating to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in the ABNJ” (New York, 20-23 January 2015). Governments recommended that they meet to develop the draft text of a legally binding instrument, and that the U.N. General Assembly decides at its 72nd session on convening a formal intergovernmental conference to finalize the new ocean laws.
Global Environmental Facility for Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction
UNESCO : Oceans and Law of Sea webpage
Recommendations of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Informal Working Group