The new phase of the United Nations high seas marine biodiversity (BBNJ)* process begins today in New York, with States meeting to begin consideration of a new Implementing Agreement (IA) under the Law of the Sea Convention (UNCLOS).
Reaching a decision towards negotiation of an IA was a key outcome of the 2012 Rio+20 Conference, and required States to make a decision on an “urgent basis” by undertaking a decision on the development of a new instrument under UNCLOS by the end 69th session of the UNGA (mid-September 2015).
The August 2013 BBNJ meeting decided to establish a process through a series of intersessional meetings to consider state submissions on scope, feasibility and parameters of the new IA under UNCLOS. These intersessionals start today (1-4 April) with the final meeting in January 2015.
High Seas Alliance member organisations attending the meeting will be pushing for the meeting to remain open this time, after NGO’s and other non-State parties were excluded from the majority of the meeting last year.
*United Nations Ad Hoc Open-ended Informal Working Group to study issues relating to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction, known informally as BBNJ.