Open oceans Policy Brief presented at PrepCom4

On 13 July 2017, during the 4th meeting of the UN’s Preparatory Committee on BBNJ, a lunchtime side event presented a Policy Brief document titled Deep, distant and dynamic:  critical considerations for incorporating the open-ocean into a new BBNJ treaty. The side event was organised by The Nippon Foundation Nereus Program and the IUCN, and supported by GOBI partners.

The Policy Brief draws attention to the vast scale and dynamism of the open ocean ecosystem, and underlines the importance of these attributes for highly mobile species such as migratory whales, fish, sharks, turtles and birds.  The connectivity between distant places in the ocean brought about by the movement of organisms is also of paramount importance to coastal human communities, as man continues to exploit and depend upon such interconnected resources.

To monitor, manage and preserve the dynamic open ocean and all of the benefits we derive from it, nations must act together in a coordinated, coherent, adaptive and effective way, and over timescales far longer than those implemented in relatively static terrestrial systems.  Capacity development in developing States, together with agreements on the transfer of knowledge and technological innovation, is also necessary if the open ocean is to be managed effectively by all.  The Policy Brief will provide much needed factual information to parties at the PrepCom4 meeting, which aims to make substantive recommendations to inform the scope of negotiations on an international legally binding instrument for BBNJ.

The Policy Brief was produced as part of the Nereus Scientific & Technical Briefs on Marine Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ) series, and was led by GOBI scientists at Duke University’s Marine Geospatial Ecology Lab with input from GOBI experts at IUCN and the MarViva Foundation, amongst other authors.