The sustainable use and conservation of biodiversity in ABNJ: What can be achieved using existing international agreements?

Jeff A. Ardron, Rosemary Rayfuse, Kristina Gjerde, Robin Warner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (SciVal)


While the international community debates the desirability and possible content of a new global instrument for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction, alternative approaches to improving the application and implementation of existing agreements for the protection of biodiversity appear to have fallen off the agenda. Recent practice under existing global and regional agreements suggests that, given political will, significantly greater protections could be achieved through the more effective implementation of individual sectoral agreements. However, while single-sector measures have the potential to make a valuable contribution, ultimately only multi-sectoral, integrated, cooperative management can ensure the conservation and long-term sustainable use of marine biodiversity in ABNJ. This requires establishing mechanisms for cooperation both intra and inter-sectorally, as well as between the sectoral and global and regional conservation agreements. This paper examines recent initiatives within various sectoral and conservation treaty regimes aimed at improving their application within ABNJ as well as some of the challenges to, and options for, further and better cooperation and coordination among and between existing regimes, and it identifies a range of possible mechanisms for achieving more effective implementation and coordination among them. Greater use of existing mechanisms represents a sensible approach to making the most of existing arrangements without in any way foreclosing the possibility of the adoption of a more comprehensive, integrated global agreement for the protection of marine biodiversity in ABNJ. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98-108
JournalMarine Policy
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Law


  • Areas beyond national jurisdiction
  • Biodiversity
  • High seas
  • International cooperation
  • MPAs


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