Facilitator, Alice Revell of New Zealand, September 14th: Report on ABMT Working Group

Informal working Group met on Friday 7th, Monday 10th and Thursday 13th of September. Discussions were structured around sections in President’s aid to dicussions and related to: objectives of ABMTs including MPAs, relationship to measures under relevant instruments, process of ABMTs, identification of areas, designation process, implementation, monitoring and review, and cross-cutting elements: use of terms, international cooperation, institutional arrangements, CLHM, general principles.

Overview of major points and trends.

Objectives of ABMTs: general convergence that ABMTs including MPAs are measures to achieve objective of ILBI, namely CSU of BBNJ. Convergence towards including certain overarching objectives to apply to full range of ABMTs: promotion of cooperation and coherence in ABMTs by regional and sectoral bodies, implementing existing obligations eg UNCLOS.

Reference was made to Aichi targets and SDG 14.

Objective to establish connected networks of MPAs to ensure long-term CSU was proposed. Also proposed that objective of ILBI is not to create mechanism to create ABMTs in ABNJ.

Convergence that ABMTs tools are to achieve objective specific to identified area. Some convergence around including specific objectives to specific tools - ILBI could provide list of specific instruments to allow for their elaboration at later stage.

Relationship to existing bodies - UNGA res 69/292 and 72/249 was recalled - must not undermine existing instruments. General convergence that it should foster greater coherence between bodies. Examples of regional cooperation given. Proposed that to a large extent, ILBI should be reliant on regional bodies to implement, and no hierarchy between these and global instrument.

Process of recognizing existing mechanism and areas - seen to promote establishment of global network. It was recognized that ILBI should respect rights of coastal states including continental shelf within and beyond 200nm and EEZ. Convergence on need for consulting with adjacent states on establishing ABMTs - issue of whether consent is necessary was raised.

Process on ABMTs - generally recognized that process could be established under ILBI eg on decision making - would need to be inclusive, transparent, consistent with relevant international instruments eg UN charter and UNCLOS, and enhance cooperation but not undermine existing bodies. Point made that any new process should be mutually supportive with existing processes to contribute to overall goals.

Different approaches given for process. Could be clustered as global/regional/hybrid, more useful to consider proposal ranging along a spectrum of options. One approach favoured a robust set of functions, mandated to processess and bodies under ILBI, and emphasised need for coherent process for establishment, implementation and enforcement of ABMTs, applicable to all states, addressing fragmentation, inconsistencies and gaps in existing mandates, while encouraging participation.

Another approach relied more on existing processes and frameworks on ABMTs while envisaging some decision making functions and responsibilities would be carried out at global level. This focused on coordination and aimed at avoiding overlapping mandates. Case by case approach to identifying ABMT and which countries/bodies are in the best position to take decision.

Regional approach from some - relevant bodies, enhanced coordination and cooperation. Model cooperation agreements could be annexed to ILBI. Fourth approach - general principles but recognize full authority of regional and sectoral bodies, without oversight of global body. Where no bodies exist, states could establish them.

Growing convergence on need for global decision making body, science/technology committee/pool of experts/existing science bodies to advice, and administrative and potential consultation/coordination functions from Secretariat. Some other subsidiary bodies also suggested.

Roles and responsibilities of global decision making body - different approach eg binding decisions related to establishment, conservation measures and monitoring/compliance on ABMTs. Consultation process with a wide range of stakeholders include regional bodies, recommendations from expert/scientific bodies. Consult with organizations/bodies that might be affected, to make sure regional characteristics included. Make recommendations on standard and criteria for identifying MPAs and progress on MPAs achievening MPAs to global decision body.

Another approach: global body tasked with setting objectives making high level decisions, priority areas for MPAs, establish processes for cooperation and coordination among existing bodies, administering global information database and undertaking regular review of ILBI.

Identification of areas needing protection - standards and criteria should be based on best available science and existing international criteria. Indicative list of criteria in PrepCom - adverse impacts of climate change, traditional knowledge. The need to retain flexibility to review/update criteria as science knowledge develops was generally recognized.

Designation - broadly agreed that proposals to establish ABMTs could be submitted by states. Need for standardized reporting procedures emphasized.

Cross-cutting issues - some would benefit from additional discussions when text further elaborated on ABMTs.

Use of terms - ABMTs could be defined, number of international instruments cited as source of definitions. Some specific definitions proposed.

Relationship to other bodies and institutional arrangements - sections 4.2 and 4.3 of President’s aid, views given. General principles and approaches cited - these could be operationalized through measures and process established by ILBI. International cooperation - discussed in depth under 4.2 and 4.3 of aid.

CLHM - convergence on need for CLHM to share information re ABMTs, serve as repository for baseline data, information on relevant activities, facilitate sharing of best practice, support CBD. One proposal for this was as hub for network of regional and/or sub regional clearing houses.

UNTV link to Statement from Facilitator - Alice Revell of New Zealand, Report on ABMT Working Group, September 14th