Q & A
Q: What is the HSA Ambition Tracker?
HSA has developed the Ambition Tracker in time for the 5th and hopefully last negotiating session at the UN taking place 15-26 August 2022, where governments will meet to finalize a new treaty for the protection of ⅔ of the planet- the high seas. The HSA Ambition Tracker assesses the level of ambition of countries and regional groups within the treaty negotiations and the impact their positions are expected to have on the health of the ocean.
Q: Why did the HSA develop the Ambition Tracker now?
After 20 years of discussions, governments are meeting in New York for what we hope will be the final negotiating session to conclude a strong high seas treaty. Time is running out for the ocean and there is no more time for delay. While we are encouraged by the political momentum for a strong high seas treaty, we are concerned that these ambitious calls are not yet sufficiently reflected in State positions at the negotiations so far. We developed the Ambition Tracker to draw attention to these important negotiations by highlighting what is at stake and offering our recommendations on what countries could do to improve their positions and ensure the conclusion of a truly ambitious High Seas treaty that affects meaningful protection for the high seas.
Q: How did the HSA conduct this analysis? What methodology was used?
You can read more about our Methodology here
Q: What does it mean to be in the High Ambition Zone?
Based on our analysis, countries and regional groups included in the High Ambition Zone support the most ambitious positions within the treaty negotiations that are necessary to help ensure effective global actions to restore, recover and protect ocean ecosystems and species, help build ocean resilience to climate change and better mitigate its effects, improve ecosystem functioning and support peoples’ livelihoods -- creating the transformational change needed to save the ocean and our planet for future generations.
Q: What does it mean to be in the Lower Ambition Zone?
Based on our analysis, countries and regional groups in the Lower Ambition Zone support some ambitious positions within the High Seas Treaty negotiations, but their positions will not result in the positive, transformative change needed to secure a healthy and biodiverse ocean in our future. Their current positions, do not go far enough to challenge the status quo and are not sufficient to effectively protect marine ecosystems, biodiversity and habitats, declines in ecosystem functioning and reduced ocean resilience, resulting in a weakening of the ocean’s resilience and marine life’s ability to adapt to the impacts of climate change.
Q: Why are there 2 columns of countries and regional groups in the Lower Ambition Zone?
Countries in the left-hand column of the Lower Ambition Zone supported fewer than half of the ambitious positions, which makes them the least ambitious countries of this category. They are extremely close to falling into the Business as Usual Zone
Q: What does it mean if a country is in the Business as Usual Zone?
Based on our analysis, countries and regional groups in the Business as Usual Zone support very few of the ambitious positions within the High Seas Treaty negotiations. Their position as a whole will result in little or no change to the current status quo, that has not delivered adequate protections for marine life from industrial activities such as fishing, oil and gas exploration, and deep-sea mining, all of which are expanding. The positions of this zone are highly unlikely to deliver the tools or outcomes needed to effectively protect and conserve ecosystems and biodiversity, resulting in the continued decline of species and habitats, limited positive outcomes for people and whose livelihoods depend on the ocean and considerably lowered ocean resilience, exacerbating the growing impacts of the climate crisis globally.
Q: Why is X country in the Lower Ambition or Business as Usual Zone?
The HSA “Ambition Tracker” has been based on the best available information to our High Seas Alliance members on countries’/regional groups’ participation over the past 3 years (March 2019 - July 2022). If a country or regional group believes that they belong in a higher Ambition category, we welcome them to reach out to us and share any additional or updated information pertaining to their positions so that we can update the Ambition Tracker to reflect the most up-to-date information. Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Q: The Ambition Tracker only covers some parts of the negotiations but there are many other critical issues being negotiated that are not included. Why is that?
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 –these are not only intrinsically linked but mutually supportive. To that end, we believe it is vital that all countries can equitably benefit from the sustainable use of marine biological diversity and fulfill obligations to conserve biodiversity in our shared global ocean through: 1) A fair and equitable access and benefit-sharing regime for marine genetic resources; and 2) An effective funding mechanism to enable capacity building and the transfer of marine technology for implementing the Agreement, particularly through support for oceanic sciences, monitoring and other technologies, and institutional, academic and individual capacity.
Q: Why isn’t my country included?
Certain countries have not been included in our analysis because we did not have enough available information to assess their position on key Treaty issues. For instance, this may be due to the lack of a public statement or proposal on the specific issue. Additionally, individual members of regional groups (i.e. The European Union, The Pacific Small Island Developing States, The Caribbean Community, The African Group, The Core Like-minded Latin American Members (CLAM)) were not scored in their individual capacity, but rather are represented as part of that regional group.
Q: What if a country or regional group improves/changes its position during IGC5? Are you going to update its scoring?
YES! We would welcome countries and regional groups to increase their ambition at the final stages of the negotiations and commit to updating our Ambition Tracker to reflect this change. Additional information on how a country/region can improve its score is provided here. Please reach out to us at email@example.com if you wish to share updated information with us.
How can a country/regional group improve its position?
Support a conservation-focused definition of ‘marine protected area.’
Empower the States Parties to the new Treaty to establish marine protected areas on the high seas.
Support the empowerment of the Conference of Parties to establish MPAs with management measures in all circumstances.
Support a requirement for activities that may affect marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction to be assessed, regardless of where that activity takes place.
Support the mandatory, independent, scientific review of environmental impact assessments by the Scientific and Technical Body of the Treaty.
Support the Treaty establishing uniform and modern content and procedural standards for environmental assessments for activities that may have negative impacts in areas beyond national jurisdiction.
Support a qualified majority voting procedure, when all good faith efforts to reach consensus have been exhausted.
Support for explicitly recognizing that the High Seas Treaty will have its own competence to effectively protect and sustainably use marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction, with the appropriate powers and mechanisms to do so.
Support the creation of an Implementation and Compliance Committee within the High Seas Treaty.
Support the establishment of a committee or working group to help deliver on capacity building and the transfer of marine technology.
Q: How can I help get my country/region into a better zone in the Ambition Tracker?
Share the Ambition Tracker and call on world leaders to turn words into action and champion an ambitious High Seas treaty in 2022!
Q: Which countries are members of the regional groups included in the Tracker?
You can read more about the African Group (AG) here, the EU here, and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) here. During the High Seas treaty negotiations, the Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS) comprises the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and the Cook Islands; and the Core Latin American Like Minded Group (CLAM) comprises Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Dominican Republic and Uruguay. Members of the PSIDS and CLAM group is current as of August 10 2022.
Our analysis scored the positions of regional groups as whole. However, individual countries within regional groups may hold positions that are more (or less) ambitious than the regional group position.
If you have any other questions about the Ambition Tracker, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to learn more about the high seas treaty negotiations please visit our Treaty Tracker.