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.
Professor Freestone provided an overview of the legal underpinnings of modern principles of high seas governance, noting that applicable principles to a new marine biodiversity implementing agreement were first discussed and elaborated through International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) workshops and at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Barcelona in 2008.
Duncan Currie presented the High Seas Alliance’s list of key principles that it supports for inclusion and operationalization in the new marine biodiversity agreement under negotiation. (See this link to principles 2 pager).
Kristina Gjerde presented on how a mechanism for environmental impact assessments might be incorporated into the new agreement. Key questions that the new agreement could address include: (i) What activities trigger the EIA/SEA? (ii) Who carries out the EIA? (iii) Who makes the final decision? and (iv) What will be the affect of final decisions?
The concluding session provided an opportunity for government representatives to engage in a question an answer period with the panel.
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
Cover photo by High Seas Alliance