Building Ambition for a new High Seas Treaty – IUCN Webinars

Date: 8th June 2021

To inform UN negotiations for a new International Legally-Binding Instrument for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ Agreement) under UNCLOS, IUCN and DOSI, with support by the Swedish government, have been co-hosting a series of knowledge-building webinars on relevant themes. This effort is aimed at fostering momentum during the extended intersessional period of the negotiations, imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The overview and video recordings are available below. 

Credit: Expedition MD208-Walters Shoal IUCN/FFEM/Institut Polaire Français IPEV

Marine Genetic Resources This first webinar outlines the importance of marine genetic diversity for the ocean and people and therefore, the need to conserve and preserve biodiversity in the ocean. Examples from the Seychelles and South Africa illustrate how nations can benefit from research findings in this field as well as use of these resources.

Environmental Impact Assessments and Strategic Environmental Assessments This second webinar explored the value of best practice environmental impact assessments (EIA) and broad-scope strategic environmental assessments (SEA) for encompassing the variety of human activities affecting BBNJ and the inherent ecological sensitivities.

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and Area-based Management Tools (ABMTs) This webinar offers an overview of the management tools available to regulate human activities and conserve biodiversity in ABNJ. Traditional MPAs remain necessary to achieve the conservation objectives of the BBNJ agreement. In addition, other ABMTs are needed, including industry sector-based measures to protect particularly sensitive sea areas, vulnerable marine ecosystems and other ecologically or biologically significant marine areas from the impacts of shipping, mining, deep-sea fishing, and other sectors.  The webinar also explored the need to evolve and adapt ABMTs to protect migratory species and dynamic ecosystems both within and outside of MPAs.

Integrating Climate Change into Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) Building up on the previous EIA webinar, this webinar brought together leading experts to explore how EIAs can and should consider climate change impacts as additional impacts to other stressors and impacts in ABNJ.

Key tools to strengthen ocean resilience via the BBNJ agreement Stemming from the Yadav and Gjerde 2020 publication, this webinar offers clear and specific tools on how to build ecological and institutional resilience in ABNJ via the BBNJ agreement.

Fishing in the Twilight Zone The mesopelagic, or “twilight” zone – the open ocean from 150-1,000 metres deep – hosts significant fish stocks. These fish are unpalatable but proposals are emerging to process them into fishmeal and nutritional supplements. As this vast midwater realm plays a role in the carbon cycle and food webs, new fisheries could have global ramifications. Yet our scientific understanding is limited and existing governance may not be ready to effectively manage mesopelagic fisheries. This webinar introduces science and ecology of the mesopelagic zone and explores potential governance challenges for sustainable development of new fisheries.

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