Dr. Carole Durussel presented the newly launched STRONG High Seas Project at a side event co-organised by UN Environment and the Partnership for Regional Ocean Governance (PROG) during the fourth meeting of the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) looking into the development of an international legally binding instrument under the UN Law of the Sea Convention (UNCLOS) on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ) that took place between 10 and 21 July 2017 at the UN Headquarters in New York.
Entitled ‘The Regional Approach to Marine Biodiversity in Areas beyond National Jurisdiction: How is it Working?’, this side event aimed to showcase different regional experiences in the conservation and sustainable use of BBNJ. Representatives from the North-East Atlantic, the Southeast Pacific and the Costa Rica Thermal Dome in the Northeast Pacific showcased the successes and challenges of their respective organisations in the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity within their convention areas and the importance of strengthening regional cooperation.
This fourth PrepCom meeting was also a decisive moment as the Preparatory Committee had been mandated to make substantive recommendations to the UN General Assembly (UNGA) on the elements of a draft text of an international legally binding instrument on BBNJ under UNCLOS and report its progress to the UNGA before the end of 2017 (UNGA Resolution 69/292). On the last day of the meeting, States recommended to the UNGA that it takes as soon as possible a decision on the convening of an intergovernmental conference to consider its recommendations and elaborate an international legally binding instrument text under UNCLOS. Now it is up for the UNGA to review this recommendation in the autumn and hopefully, over a decade after the start of discussions on the conservation and sustainable use of BBNJ, to give a mandate for States to start negotiating an international legally binding instrument on BBNJ under UNCLOS from 2018 on.