Ambition Tracker - Methodology

  • The Ambition Tracker compared country and regional group positions within the High Seas Treaty negotiations to the High Seas Alliance’s standard for ambition set in the document. The document outlines the ambitious positions needed to secure a robust and transformative High Seas Treaty that will enable the effective conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction.
  • The High Seas Alliance developed 10 key questions (see below) based on the document that could be used to assess and evaluate how closely country and regional group positions aligned with the ambitious positions.
  • The assessment of country and regional group ambition was based upon the country/regional group participation during the fourth round of negotiations for the BBNJ treaty (IGC4) and, if a country did not indicate its views for a particular question during IGC4, we considered information presented between IGC3 and IGC4. In instances where a country or regional group provides us with additional information on their position, we will update their score to reflect that updated information.
  • Country and regional group views were scored against the ten questions on the basis of whether they aligned or not with the ambitious positions outlined in the document. Where a position aligned fully with the ambitious position, full credit was given for that question. In instances where a position partially aligned with the ambitious position, partial credit was given, and if there was no alignment with the ambitious position, no credit was given. When there was insufficient information with respect to a regional group’s or country’s position to assign a score, that question was marked as “Not applicable” and removed from consideration for that particular country or group.
  • Through the 10 questions, a total score was calculated for each country or regional group. Countries and regional groups were then divided, based on their scores, into three separate zones, reflecting our assessment of their level of ambition and the impact their positions are predicted to have on the health of the ocean.
  • Countries/regional groups that scored less than 40% were included in the Business as Usual Zone. Countries/regional groups that scored 41% - 80% were included in the Lower Ambition Zone, and those that scored 81% and above were included in the High Ambition Zone.
  • The Lower Ambition Zone was separated into two columns to better reflect the varying levels of ambition in positions between countries and regional groups within this zone. Countries and regional groups in the left-hand column of the Lower Ambition Zone, supported fewer than half of the ambitions positions, falling closer to the Business as Usual Zone. Countries in the right-hand column of the Lower Ambition Zone supported ambitious positions for more than half of the assessed questions.
  • In order to include a country or region in the Ambition Tracker, a country or regional group had to have at least 5 questions that could be assessed. Countries and regional groups where there was insufficient information were removed from consideration.
  • The Ambition Tracker focuses on a core selection of conservation provisions within the High Seas Treaty on which the High Seas Alliance has expertise. The Ambition Tracker does not cover the full scope of elements currently under negotiation. The HSA however recognizes that the full “package” of elements under negotiations are critical for a successful and ambitious treaty – and not only intrinsically linked but mutually supportive.
  • We invite countries and regional groups to provide us with any updated information so that we can ensure that their position in the Ambition Tracker most accurately reflects current positions. If countries or regional groups would like to provide us with additional information, or would like us to provide additional details of their individual score, please reach out to us at

10 Questions:

  • Does the country/region support a definition of MPAs with a “conservation” objective?
  • Does the country/region support the BBNJ COP establishing high seas MPAs?
  • Does the country/region support the BBNJ COP with sufficient authority to establish MPAs with management measures in all ABNJ?
  • Does the country/region support an effects-based approach to EIAs?
  • Does the country/region support mandatory review of EIAs by the STB?
  • Does the country/region support the BBNJ Agreement establishing uniform content and procedural standards for EIAs?
  • Does the country/region support all decisions being taken by a qualified majority vote when consensus cannot be reached?
  • Does the country/region oppose the “not undermining” standard that expands deference to regional bodies (e.g. “respects competence of”)?
  • Does the country/region support the BBNJ Agreement establishing an effective Implementation and Compliance Committee under the agreement?
  • Does the country/region support establishing a [specific] body or mechanism to support capacity building for the implementation of the provisions of the BBNJ Agreement?


If you have any other questions about the Ambition Tracker, please reach out to us at If you want to learn more about the high seas treaty negotiations please visit our Treaty Tracker.