Protecting the Ocean We Need - Securing the Future We Want


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High Seas Alliance recommendations on Cross-Cutting provisions of the President's draft text of Nov. 27th, 2019

High Seas Alliance recommendations on ABMT provisions of the President's draft text of Nov. 27th, 2019

High Seas Alliance recommendations on environmental impact assessment provisions of the President's draft text of Nov. 27th, 2019

Protecting half the planet: A new High Seas biodiversity treaty in 2020

High Seas Alliance Statements– IGC #3 August 19 - 30, 2019

High Seas Alliance newsletter - IGC #3 Issue August 2019

Lessons Learned from Regional and Sectoral Organizations for Conservation in ABNJ

High Seas Alliance Statements– IGC #2 March 25 - April 5, 2019

We are at a critical juncture of the BBNJ negotiations

High Seas Alliance – Overview of Reccomendations for IGC2

High Seas Alliance Briefing – Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEAs) under the new BBNJ Instrument

High Seas Alliance Statements– IGC #1 September 4 - 17, 2018

High Seas Alliance newsletter - IGC #1 Issue August 2018

High Seas Alliance recommendations for cross-cutting issues under the new international legally binding instrument

HSA Recommendations for Institutional Arrangements

HSA Recommendations on MPAs and Marine Reserves

HSA Recommendations on EIAs

The journey toward a Treaty for ABNJ

Protected Seas – map of high seas managed areas 

High Seas Briefing – A landmark ocean biodiversity treaty to protect the high seas now and for the future

High Seas Alliance Timeline - UN Steps Towards an Implementing Agreement

Function of the High Seas and Anthropogenic Impacts  Science Update 2012-2017

PrepCom4 Interventions

High Seas Alliance Statement to Ocean Conference Plenary – June 7, 2017

Governance of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction for Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Use

Towards a Global Solution for High Seas Conservation: Protecting marine biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction

PrepCom3 Interventions

PrepCom3 HSA Side Event

On March 28th the High Seas Alliance, Greenpeace and the NRDC held a side event for government representatives entitled “Marine Reserves in the Era of Climate Change.” This well-attended event provided up to date scientific and other information about the important role played by area based management tools (ABMTs), in particular marine reserves, in mitigating the effects of climate change.

The side event was moderated by Lisa Speer, Director of International Oceans Program at NRDC and showcased expert panelists Estrella V Tulay, Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries, Dr. Doug McCauley, University of California Santa Barbara, and Dr. Veronica Frank, policy advisor for Greenpeace International.

Download the presentations:
Estrella V Tulay – The importance of high seas MPAs in the regional context
Dr. Doug McCauley – The value of marine reserves in an era of climate change
Dr. Veronica Frank – Reserves as a cornerstone for an implementing agreement

PrepCom2 Interventions

PrepCom2 Side Events

HSA and the NRDC PrepCom2 Side Event: 

On August 31, the High Seas Alliance and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) held a PrepCom side event where leading scientists presented the latest developments in ocean mapping and marine spatial planning technologies, and how these tools can be used by policy makers.

Download the presentations: 

IUCN Submission on Crosscutting Issues

​Mapping Governance Gaps On The High Seas

Key Components and Best Practices for Environmental Impact Assessments - Submission to PrepCom2

Taking a Risk Management Approach to Strategic Environmental Assessment and Environmental Impact Assessment for BBNJ 

As the best practical way to give effect to the commitment in UNGA Resolution 69/292 to include ‘environmental impact assessments’ as one of the issues to be included in an international legally binding instrument under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ). 

Download paper prepared for the second BBNJ Prep Com by WWF, August 2016 

White Paper on Key Components and Best Practices for Environmental Impact Assessments

Download paper by Duncan E.J. Currie, August 2016

Ten Steps to Marine Protection

Greenpeace’s recommendations on the identification, designation, management and enforcement of marine protected areas and marine reserves in areas beyond national jurisdiction under the new UN Ocean Agreement. 

Download paper

IUCN Matrix on Suggestions for Marine Biodiversity Agreement  

See Matrix

High Seas Alliance PrepCom1 Side Event 

During the PrepCom meeting taking place at UN Headquarters from March 28-April 8, the High Seas Alliance held a side event for government representatives entitled “Governance Principles, EIAs, and Operationalization in the New Instrument.” 

The lunch-time event drew over 70 government representatives who gathered to hear an expert panel address key topics being addressed at the PrepCom negotiations.  Moderated by Lisa Speer, Director of  International Oceans Program at NRDC, panelists included David Freestone, Secretary of the Sargasso Sea Commission, Duncan Currie, International Legal Advisor, and Kristina Gjerde, IUCN Global and Marine Polar Programme.

Download Presentations:

Environmental Impact Assessments – Kristina M. Gjerde

Governance Principles In Practice – Duncan Currie

Governance of Marine Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction: towards a principle approach – Dr. David Freestone

Ten Governance Principles for an International Legally Binding Instrument on Marine Biodiversity in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction

The principles set out in this document reflect States' existing international obligations under UNCLOS and other international instruments as well as global norms relevant to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction.

White Paper on Governance Principles Relevant to Marine Biodiversity in ABNJ: Submission to the Chair

A white paper outlining governance principles relevant to the proposed international legally binding instrument on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction, under the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. It describes the proposed principles, with an Annex containing excerpts from key international instruments and agreements as precedents for the application of the principle in multilateral instruments. It also sets out ways the principles may be operationalized in the international instrument. It is hoped that this paper will stimulate discussion on some of the fundamental operating and governance principles that may be needed to translate specific operational objectives of any new agreement into established practice.

Duncan E. J. Currie February 2016

Download white paper

High Seas Alliance: Suggestions for Consideration by the Preparatory Committee, March 2016

On June 19, 2015, the UN General Assembly adopted resolution 69/292 in which it decided to develop an international legally binding instrument under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction. The resolution provides for a preparatory committee “to make substantive recommendations to the General Assembly on the elements of a draft text” of the instrument. The High Seas Alliance submits the following suggestions for consideration by the Preparatory Committee.

Download Submission for PrepCom1

High Seas Environmental Impact Assessments - Pew Briefing

Marine Protected Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction - Pew Briefing

Interventions delivered: 

March 28th:

March 29th:


March 31st: 

April 1st:

April 4th:

April 5th: 

April 6th:

Overview of Legal, Regulatory and Implementation Gaps

From 16-19 June 2014, governments will gather for the second intersessional “BBNJ” meeting of the UN Working Group to discuss a new high seas biodiversity agreement under UNCLOS.  Delegations will discuss the scope and parameters of such an agreement including the legal and regulatory gaps that have resulted in a fragmented approach to ocean governance.  Please see the attached Summary and Overview of Legal, Regulatory and Implementation Gaps in the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity in Marine Areas beyond National Jurisdiction. 

Summary of Gaps Document

Overview of Gaps Document

Elements for a Possible Ocean Sustainable Development Goal

The Tenth Session of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is meeting at the United Nations in New York from 31 March-4 April.  The High Seas Alliance and Deep Sea Conservation Coalition have made a submission on proposed elements for inclusion in an Ocean SDG: Achieve healthy, productive and resilient oceans. Download PDF

High Seas Alliance Policy Briefs

From 1-4 April, 2014, governments will gather at the United Nations in New York, for ground-breaking discussions on whether to launch negotiations for a new high seas biodiversity agreement under UNCLOS.  These discussions will continue at the UN from 16-19 June, with a focus on the ‘scope, parameters and feasibility’ of a new implementing agreement.

The High Seas Alliance has released a series of policy briefs to coincide with these UN intersessional meetings:

HSA Briefing 1:  About the High Seas Alliance

HSA Briefing 2:  The Need for a New Implementing Agreement Under UNCLOS on Marine Biodiversity of the High Seas  

HSA Briefing 3:  Equity, Food Security and Capacity-building

HSA Briefing 4:  Wonders of the High Seas

HSA Recommendations on the Scope, Parameters and Feasibility of an UNCLOS Implementing Agreement

To address the issue of the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction, States agreed to take a decision on the development of a new international instrument under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).  The next meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Informal Working Group will take place from 1 to 4 April 2014.  In advance of that meeting, Member States have been invited to submit by 28 February 2014 their views on the scope, parameters and feasibility of such an international instrument under UNCLOS.

See HSA's Policy Recommendations:  English   French   Brazilian Portuguese   Arabic   Spanish

Synthesis of Gaps Identified in Co-Chairs’ BBNJ Workshop Report

This is a brief summary of gaps identified in the two May BBNJ workshops.

Bringing the Oceans into Sustainable Development: a stand-alone oceans SDG

On February 3-4, the United Nations considered the role of oceans and sustainable development during the Eighth Open-ending Working Group meeting on Sustainable Development Goals. Read contributions by:

Protecting the Ocean We Need - Securing the Future We Want

The case for negotiating a new 'High Seas Biodiversity Agreement'

Alliance Charter

Download the charter of the High Seas Alliance

Position Paper

From 2012 Rio+20: to secure a sea-change for ocean conservation

Science Articles



Javier Bardem, Greenpeace Ambassador, is on board with protecting the High Seas, are you? Greenpeace side event during IGC3


The Long and Winding Road - an overview

Area-based Management Tools + Marine Protected Areas and Institutional Arrangements

Environmental Impact Assessments and Strategic Environmental Assessments

Monitoring, Control and Surveillance - Global Fishing Watch

Cross-cutting issues

Ocean Noise - OceanCare

HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco talks about what is at stake on the high seas


Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs & Fisheries, European Commission looks at how far we have come in working to protect the high seas


Teresa Ribera, Minister of Energy and Ecological Transition, Government of Spain speaks to attendees at the event "The High Seas, What's at Stake"


The President of the General Assembly talks about his hopes for the first ever UN Ocean Conference


Dan Lafoley, Marine Vice Chair, IUCN World Commission on Protect Areas and Lisa Speer, Director of International Oceans Program, NRDC – explain the importance of the high seas.


Professor Douglas McCauley explains why it is crucial we protect the high seas now.


What Are The High Seas? Why Do They Need Help?


High time for the High Seas at the UN



Championing the high seas - Google Hangout on Air - Nov. 15, 2014


No Commitment for the High Seas


Alternative summit shows the way forward for oceans at Rio+20


Oceans experts deliver verdict on Rio+20 outcomes