DSCC members attended the third ad hoc informal working group meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction (known as BBNJ), at the United Nations 1st – 5th February 2010. The meeting was convened to study issues relating to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction.
“There were a lot of constructive suggestions made on the need to establish marine protected areas in the high seas, on the need for environmental impact assessments and strategic environmental assessments or activities on the high seas and for the need to address the potential impact of new and emerging activities on the high seas, such as ocean fertilization, geo-engineering and bioprospecting for marine genetic resources,” said DSCC political and policy adviser Matthew Gianni.
“While it was disappointing that more progress to operationalize these essential steps was not made at this meeting, we are encouraged that there is to be another meeting on this next year, instead of in two years time, and DSCC will be encouraging discussion and facilitating the development of ideas in the coming year,” said DSCC co-ordinator Duncan Currie.
Earlier in the week, DSCC members made an intervention to the group and held a side event where leading scientists gave presentations on the mapping of VMEs, high seas areas closed to bottom fishing, biogeographic classifications of deep-sea and open ocean ecosystems and options for conservation of biodiversity beyond national jurisdictions.
In the evening of 3rd February, over 70 UN delegates attended a DSCC organized cocktail reception with journalist and author Charles Clover, where a UN premiere (25 minute version) of his film, “The End of The Line”, the first major film documentary on the devastating effects of overfishing, was screened and a discussion followed.
The next BBNJ meeting is expected to be held next year.