Ensuring effective implementation of a high seas biodiversity treaty: Lessons learned and options for an implementation and compliance committee

The STRONG High Seas project partner IDDRI published this new report that presents an overview of compliance mechanisms and explores good practices and lessons learned from implementation and compliance committees in several multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs), based on an extensive review of the literature and existing provisions, as well as targeted interviews with experts. Finally, it provides reflections and options for the development of the BBNJ “high seas” treaty.

Key Messages from the report are:

  • Experience with existing multilateral environmental agreements suggests that effective implementation and compliance mechanisms are underpinned by explicit treaty provisions that directly establish a dedicated Implementation and Compliance committee.
  • Although a future high seas treaty is not expected to provide detailed parameters for the structure and functioning of such a Committee, Parties could prioritise development in early meetings and decisions of the Conference of the Parties. Empowering Parties to take decisions by vote where efforts to reach consensus have been exhausted would facilitate this process.
  • An Implementation and Compliance committee is most effective when it takes a collaborative, transparent and non-confrontational approach, encouraging Parties themselves to seek assistance to implement their treaty obligations and inviting civil society to provide information.

There is also a Briefing for negotiators available in English, Spanish and French.