Global Ocean Biodiversity Initiative (GOBI)
As of: February 2021
Signatories of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) have agreed to describe and identify ecologically or biologically significant marine areas (EBSAs) in the world’s oceans. The Global Ocean Biodiversity Initiative (GOBI) is supporting the CBD in this process. GOBI is an international partnership of organisations committed to advancing the scientific basis for conserving biological diversity in the marine environment. GOBI partners, coordinated by a dedicated Secretariat, assist the EBSA process by developing methods, generating new data, and disseminating their latest scientific findings. GOBI also supports countries in meeting their national obligations, devising sustainable marine management measures via cooperation between GOBI partners, CBD signatory states and intergovernmental organisations. All of this helps society and its leaders appreciate the value of marine biodiversity and contributes towards transformational policy advice and capacity building.
State of implementation/results
- The GOBI partnership is fully engaged with the CBD Secretariat on all aspects of the ongoing EBSA process. In September 2019, the CBD convened a regional EBSA workshop for the NE Atlantic region. The outputs passed through the relevant procedures at SBSTTA-23 in November 2019 and will be further considered at CBD COP15 in 2021. If all proposed EBSAs are accepted, the global suite of ‘approved’ EBSAs will total 338. The whole of the global ocean is now covered by EBSA workshops, with the exception of the Southern Ocean, where an EBSA workshop is not considered appropriate, and the SW Atlantic Ocean.
- Results from GOBI’s work on migratory species and ecosystem connectivity were presented at a side event during the Convention on Migratory Species’ 13th Conference of the Parties in February 2020. The CMS Secretariat continues to be a strong supporter of GOBI’s work in developing the MiCO system and in the evolution on the IMMA process, as well as being a key user of the Seabird Tracking Database – all products of GOBI’s work under this IKI grant.
- GOBI’s work on developing conservation strategies for hydrothermal vents on mid-ocean ridges is feeding into the International Seabed Authority’s work on developing a regional environmental management plan for the Atlantic. GOBI researchers have actively participated in a series of ISA workshops to advance this REMP.
- GOBI’s work on describing a suite of Important Marine Mammal Areas in the Indian and South Pacific Oceans continues to progress, with five expert workshops now complete and more than 100 IMMAs described. One further workshop is due to take place before the end of the project (COVID-19 restrictions permitting). All results to date can be found online at the IMMA eAtlas.
- The Migratory Connectivity in the Ocean (MiCO) system developed by GOBI partner Duke University with support from a network of external collaborators continues to evolve, offering ever-more sophisticated visualisation of the movement of migratory marine species. MiCO recently won the Innovation category of the 2020 Ocean Awards for “introducing innovative measures to reduce stress on the oceans”.
- GOBI’s work in the Costa Rica Thermal Dome and the initiative to bring together regional governments to recognise the natural value of the CRTD is starting to bear fruit. Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala have agreed to advance towards an international governance model to protect the sustainability of the CRTD. The governments, represented by the Central American Commission on Environment and Development (CCAD) Council of Ministers, have signed an Official Agreement on the generation of a collaborative work plan to incorporate CRTD in the Regional Coastal and Marine Agenda. GOBI’s implementing partner MarViva and the countries’ CCAD technical liaisons will develop such a Work Plan, through two workshops that will be organised by MarViva in 2020.
- Bioregionalisations for the SW Pacific and Indian Ocean are almost complete, with descriptions of 72 benthic and 14 pelagic bioregions in the Indian Ocean and 35 benthic and 16 pelagic regions in the South West Pacific Ocean. Each region has a description, map and qualitative ecosystem model that identifies the key pressures acting on the bioregion. Preliminary results are being used by SPREP, IOTC and FAO and elements will feed into MSP programmes in Mauritius, Tanzania and Kenya over the next 2 years.