Turkish Marine Foundation form BBNJ task force with Turkish Government

HSA/Civil Society

The Turkish Marine Research Foundation (TUDAV) met the representatives of major BBNJ institutions in Ankara, on March 23, 2021. The meeting was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and attended by representatives from the Ministry of Urbanization and Environment and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

Prof. Bayram Ozturk, Chair of TUDAV, introduced major topics of the BBNJ Agreement negotiations and underlined the significance of scientific inputs in understanding marine biodiversity challenges in the high seas. A core theme of the meeting was maintaining coordination among the three institutions and creating a task force. The task group will bring together the elements of BBNJ policy with respect to different institutions and, along with the involvement of academics, work on major BBNJ issues and developments to inform Turkey’s BBNJ policy as we approach the fourth intergovernmental conference.

TUDAV also visited the General Directorate of Fisheries and Aquaculture. A major problem regarding the highly migratory species in the Mediterranean Sea is bycatches. During the meeting, TUDAV drew attention to the importance of conservation of highly migratory species such as the cetaceans and sea turtles. It also called for stronger protection of the Finike Seamount (Anexamander) Protected Area, which hosts hydrothermal vents, cold seeps, and many other vulnerable deep-sea biota. Additionally, TUDAV emphasized the need for stronger management measures for conservation of great white sharks.

TUDAV will organize a seminar on the World Ocean Day and a workshop entitled Ocean Diplomacy and Turkey in June 2021. The workshop will discuss both the final BBNJ negotiation session (IGC4) and Barcelona Convention CoP22 agendas. Bureaucrats from the three ministries will also attend these organizations as speakers and presenters.