A Conservation Agenda for Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ)

The conservation of BBNJ is a critical international conservation and political issue around which there is broad UN-led international consensus supporting a new protective legal instrument.  However, there is limited agreement concerning the threats likely to affect BBNJ and therefore uncertainty over what measures should be included within the new legal instrument and how the legal instrument should be framed (Houghton, 2014). The terms of an international legal instrument will be recommended to the UN General Assembly by the end of 2017; therefore 2015-17 is a critical window of opportunity during which a strong conservation agenda would make a vital contribution.

This project will develop a practical but progressive international conservation agenda for the protection of biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ). This project proposes to undertake a horizon scan of threats to BBNJ and a review of legal options for BBNJ protection to generate a foundation analysis of BBNJ issues.  The foundation analysis will form the basis for discussion at a specially convened high-level international deliberative workshop attended by invited marine conservation and legal experts at which a prioritised conservation agenda will be developed. The conservation agenda will be widely disseminated, including to the UN-led BBNJ process, thus the results of this project will contribute directly to the conservation and global legal protection of BBNJ. 

This project is funded by the CCI Collaborative Fund for Conservation.

Project Aims

This project will develop a practical but progressive international conservation agenda for the protection of biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ).  The conservation of BBNJ is a critical international conservation issue, however, there is limited agreement concerning the threats likely to affect BBNJ and uncertainty over how it should be conserved. This project will contribute to and inform the global debate concerning the conservation of BBNJ.

Key Activities

  • Analysis of threats to BBNJ and possible legal protection options. 
  • Workshop to support the identification of priorities for area-based conservation and the legal protection options.
  • Preparation of a document outlining the ‘Conservation Agenda’ for BBNJ.
  • Dissemination of the findings of the work: The report will be submitted to the United Nations Preparatory Committee and will be highlighted were possible through the web, national media and a scientific paper.

Conservation Impact

The improved understanding of threats to BBNJ and better legal understanding will allow any future legal instrument to be targeted at relevant marine activities.  By researching these elements in a multidisciplinary group it will allow the conservation perspective to take into account the views of other stakeholders, providing more robust solutions. The opportunity to feed into the UN process at a key moment in the development of a potential international legal instrument is unique and fortunately, with the support of CCI, will not be missed.

Outputs

  • Analysis of the threats to, and legal protection options for, BBNJ.
  • Side event at a UN BBNJ working group meeting.
  • Launch of the Conservation Agenda at a UN BBNJ meeting.
  • Popular media opinion piece.
  • Blog and online discussion.
  • International peer-reviewed journal paper.

CCI partners Involved

The Department of Land Economy's core research in economics, law and planning focuses on policies and regulations for the management of land and natural resources. There is particular expertise in...
BirdLife International is a strategic global partnership of conservation organisations in over 100 countries, working to conserve birds, their habitats and global biodiversity, and to promote...
The UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) is the specialist biodiversity assessment arm of the United Nations Environment Programme, the world’s foremost intergovernmental...
IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, is the world's oldest and largest global environmental network. It helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment...

Related Resources

Resource Title Description Type
A Conservation Agenda for Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction: Legal Scan In an effort to better understand how a bespoke international legal instrument might be drafted to protect Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ), this legal scan does two things: 1) it... Working papers and reports
Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction: Legal options for a new international agreement The aim of this work is to support States participating in the Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction Preparatory Committee meetings by presenting options for the content of the legal instrument... Working papers and reports
Horizon scan of pressures on Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction This horizon scan, reviews the historic trends, current status and future projections of three key pressures on biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction. The three pressures are:  Physical... Working papers and reports