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GOBI contributes to IMCC session on "Conserving the other 50% of the planet"

GOBI partners were out in force at the recent International Marine Conservation Congress, held in St John's, Newfoundland on 30 July - 3 September 2016. Sharing expertise and experience on a range of marine conservation topics, GOBI partners contributed to a pre-conference Focus Group convened by Daniel Dunn (Duke University), Steve Fletcher (UNEP-WCMC) and Telmo Morato (IMAR/University of Azores), as well as to a well-attended symposium session on the same topic in the main conference programme.

The pre-conference Focus Group, titled "Conserving the other 50% of the planet: status and opportunities in conservation of areas beyond national jurisdiction", was held over two days preceding the start of the main IMCC conference. The objective of this meeting was to examine the status and opportunities for conservation in ABNJ by reviewing new scientific findings and current sectoral efforts to conserve biodiversity. Ultimately, the group aimed to determine how the scientific research community can better inform and support the negotiations of a new international legally-binding instrument for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity beyond national jurisdictions (BBNJ).

A stellar line-up of speakers during the Focus Group featured a number of key GOBI scientists, including David Johnson (GOBI Coordinator), Kristina Gjerde (IUCN), Nic Bax (CSIRO) and Pat Halpin (Duke University). The presentations covered a diverse range of topics, all linked to the management and conservation of marine biodiversity in ABNJ, including:

  • Policy framework and governance processes for ABNJ 
  • Anthropogenic impacts and pressures in ABNJ 
  • Environmental Impact Assessments 
  • Instruments and data for area-based management Technology transfer and capacity building

Discussions following multiple presentations on different aspects of these topics highlighted the need for better awareness of the BBNJ PrepCom process in some marine science communities, and the need for scientists to be recognised as stakeholders in the process. Mechanisms for making better use of traditional knowledge and engaging with indigenous communities were identified as areas where significant improvements could be made. The Focus Group concluded with agreement to generate a series of policy briefing documents on various marine science issues, which will be made available to delegates at the next two PrepCom meetings. The potential utility of a Knowledge-holder’s Consensus Statement on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction was also discussed. The organisers received positive feedback from the group and the implications of various types of content and timelines were considered.

An open symposium session during the main International Marine Conservation Congress on 3 September highlighted the key issues raised in the Focus Group, and served to expand awareness of the BBNJ process and the concept of EBSAs to a broader scientific audience.

Below: Speakers Daniel Dunn (Duke university; left) and Nic Bax (CSIRO; right) present to the IMCC symposium audience.

IMCC 2016 speakers


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