The STRONG High Seas project has just published a new report on the monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) of human activities in areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ).This report explores how the United Nations negotiations on an internationally legally binding instrument for the conservation and sustainable use of the biological diversity of marine areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ) can strengthen MCS in ABNJ and highlights how MCS can contribute to the implementation of the new instrument. Moreover, the report provides an overview of existing legal frameworks, technological tools and MCS initiatives and highlights some of the challenges to effective MCS.
The report outlines some suggested pathways for strengthening MCS in ABNJ, as well as three concrete proposals for provisions that could be included in the future international instrument:
- Reinforcing MCS flag State obligations in the text and ensuring the principles and related obligations of cooperation and coordination, transparency and reporting are applied throughout the agreement;
- Specifying that a clearing-house mechanism will serve as a platform to share good MCS practices, exchange data on MCS activities and match capacity-building needs in relation to MCS tools and methods for assessment; and
- Requiring States parties to submit a MCS strategy together with proposals for area based management tools (ABMTs) and marine protected areas (MPAs) that considers the possible technological tools and institutional arrangements available to ensure compliance.