Following discussions during the latest Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in November 2018 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, 42 new EBSA descriptions have been formally welcomed by the Parties and are soon to be communicated to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) before being added to the EBSA repository. The communication of EBSAs by the COP to UNGA and their inclusion in the EBSA repository marks the final stage in the formal EBSA-description process.
The 42 new EBSAs were described during the two most recent EBSA regional workshops, one covering the Black and Caspian Seas (which took place in Baku, Azerbaijan, in April 2017), the other covering the Baltic Sea (held in Helsinki, Finland, in February 2018). The new EBSAs now bring the total number of EBSAs identified around the world to 321.
Also discussed at the CBD COP was a mechanism for Parties and competent authorities to modify existing EBSA descriptions (should new information become available) and how new EBSAs can be proposed for future inclusion in the repository. Resolution of some aspects of those discussions was not possible during the time allocated at COP, so the Executive Secretary was instructed to conduct further debate on those matters.