GOBI EBSAs in ABNJ workshop

A global-scale scientific and technical workshop
to review and assess EBSAs in ABNJ

6-9 November 2022
Seymour Marine Center, Santa Cruz, California, USA


This scientific and technical workshop aims to review and assess ecologically or biologically significant marine areas (EBSAs) in areas beyond national jurisdiction. This is not a Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) workshop; it is convened as part of GOBI’s work under the International Climate Initiative.
The workshop will take place over four days (6-9 November 2022), adopting the formula successfully used at the CBD-convened regional EBSA workshops.

We are inviting experts from around the world to prepare draft case(s) for new EBSAs using the EBSA template. These will be considered at this workshop, discussed and refined as appropriate. Guidance on completing the EBSA template is provided below, and we will organise a short pre-workshop online session to provide further support and advice (details to be announced shortly).

The workshop will be supported by data experts who will provide global datasets of relevant biological and environmental data, as well as relevant data and resources from GOBI’s work over the past five years. Workshop participants are strongly encouraged to bring relevant data with them to aid discussions.

The main output of this meeting will be a report containing a suite of draft EBSA descriptions agreed by the workshop. Whilst this will have no official standing or formal CBD recognition, it will serve as a ‘straw man’ for any future CBD-led exercise. It is not intended that the draft EBSA descriptions provide comprehensive coverage of features in ABNJ, but every effort should be made to consider examples of different benthic and pelagic features. The workshop will also suggest a series of options, based on lessons learned, for how the EBSA portfolio coverage of ABNJ might be enhanced.

Outline workshop programme

Sunday 6 November 2022
13:00 – 18:00

  • Welcome and introductions
  • Introduction to scope and objectives of the workshop – link to other processes (post-2020 GBF, BBNJ, SDGs) and potential to feed into CBD COP15
  • Overview of data available, data gaps, proxies and analogues
  • Review and critique of existing EBSAs in ABNJ – problematic scientific and technical issues (e.g. bentho-pelagic coupling) and political constraints (e.g. ECS submissions)
  • Discussion / Q&A
  • Evening icebreaker reception

Monday 7 November 2022
09:00 – 18:00

  • Presentation and discussion of draft EBSA templates
  • Work in groups to refine templates

Tuesday 8 November 2022

  • Consolidation and refining of EBSA templates
  • Stock take
  • Workshop dinner

Wednesday 9 November 2022
09:00 – 16:00

  • Summary presentation of results and discussion of gaps
  • Options for CBD (e.g. full ABNJ workshop; species specific thematic workshops for data-rich taxa; a technical report to BBNJ highlighting candidate ABMTs; etc.)
  • Future steps

How to participate in the workshop

Participation in this workshop is by invitation. If you have received an invitation, please RSVP by Friday 16 September 2022 latest. Submission of draft EBSA templates from researchers not attending the workshop are welcome; please contact vikki.gunn[at]seascapeconsultants.co.uk for details. A short online briefing session on the workshop, and how to complete the EBSA template will be held in September 2022 – further details will be circulated in due course.

About EBSAs

EBSAs are ecologically or biologically significant marine areas, which play important roles in supporting the healthy functioning of oceans and the many services that it provides. They are described in terms of their ability to meet seven scientific criteria, via a formal process administered by the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. For more information:

Guidance on drafting an EBSA template

Areas that may meet the criteria for ecologically or biologically significant marine areas are described using a template that ensures all the appropriate information is provided.

Workshop logistics and travel information

The workshop will be held at the Seymour Marine Discovery Center, located on western outskirts of Santa Cruz, California. The closest airports are Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC; approx. 35 miles away) and San Francisco International Airport (SFO; approx. 65 miles away).

More information on local transport options will be posted in due course.

Maps showing location of the Seymour Marine Discovery Center, Santa Cruz, California (click to access Google map)

A range of accommodation options is available in Santa Cruz. The closest hotel is located 2km from the Seymour Center.

Lunches and coffee break refreshments will be provided during the workshop. Please let us know well in advance if you have any special dietary requirements.


Please email vikki.gunn[at]seascapeconsultants.co.uk