Planning and Management in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ)

At the time of this top list's creation (July 2017), a UN committee is negotiating a set of recommendations on developing a legally binding instrument for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJs). There is currently no legal mechanism for establishing MPAs outside of states’ EEZs, which makes high seas conservation difficult. The UN negotiation process is expected to yield recommendations by the end of 2017, and potentially lead to a formal treaty conference in 2018. The following items offer a primer on the ongoing negotiations, what governance could emerge from a new high seas treaty, and how protecting the high seas can benefit ocean ecosystems. (For additional information, visit the websites of the UN Preparatory Committee handling the negotiations and the High Seas Alliance, an NGO highly engaged in the negotiations.)

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