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STRONG High Seas – Strengthening Regional Ocean Governance for the High Seas

As of: February 2020

Objective and activities

The project facilitates the development of comprehensive, cross-sectoral approaches to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ) in the Southeast Atlantic and Southeast Pacific. Building on the interest of both regions and political momentum at the global level, it identifies best practices and provides regional institutions and national authorities with the knowledge, tools and capacity to strengthen implementation of existing and the development of new approaches to regional ocean governance. The project will advance technical and scientific cooperation and propose ABNJ measures at the regional scale. Experiences will be disseminated to other regions and stakeholders to facilitate mutual learning and identify common practices. The project develops options for regional governance under a future international instrument under UNCLOS and transfers lessons learned to the global level to support ocean governance at relevant scales.

State of implementation/results

  • The project continues to contribute to the strategic objectives and processes of the Comisión Permanente del Pacífico Sur (CPPS) and the Abidjan Convention on the conservation of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ), including their working groups on areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ). Findings from the project were presented at the BBNJ negotiations at the United Nations (UN) in September 2018, March 2019 and August 2019 and will continue to contribute to the UN negotiation process in the future.
  • The various workshops organised to date in the CPPS and Abidjan Convention regions as well as at the United Nations brought together key regional and international actors, in particular ministry representatives. The events enabled the opportunity to present and discuss outputs coming from the project as well as exchange and discuss key topics in preparation for international negotiations on marine biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction such as multi-level ocean governance, cross-sectoral discussions on regional governance approaches.
  • The Dialogue Workshop for the Southeast Pacific was co-organised together with UNEP-WCMC and the CPPS Secretariat and took place in March 2019 in Guayaquil, Ecuador. All three relevant regional organisations (CPPS, SPRFMO (South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation) and IATTC (Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission)) as well as international organisations, amongst others, took part this workshop.
  • The Dialogue Workshop for the Southeast Atlantic was co-organised together with UNEP-WCMC and the Abidjan Convention and Nairobi Convention Secretariats and took place in June 2019 in Cape Town, South Africa. It provided a space for the two Conventions to exchange and share on ongoing and upcoming work on ABNJ and related issues. Several relevant regional organisations (Abidjan Convention, Nairobi Convention, SEAFO – South-east Atlantic Fisheries Organisation, COREP – Commission Régionale des Pêches du Golfe de Guinée, BCC – Benguela Current Convention, COMESA – Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, Indian Ocean Commission, PMAESA – Port Management Association of Eastern and Southern Africa, IGAD – Intergovernmental Authority on Development, East African Community, SIOFA – Southern Indian Ocean Fisheries Agreement, WIOMSA – Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association) as well as international organisations, amongst others, took part in this workshop. This was an important step in developing the necessary collaboration under the project between the Southeast Atlantic and Western Indian Ocean regions. The ABNJ working group of the Abidjan Convention also met directly after the workshop to prepare a joint position paper on ABNJ.
  • The start of the UN BBNJ negotiations in September 2018 has provided the necessary impetus for the project and the project is and continues to be well-regarded as an important contribution to both the regions and the ongoing UN negotiations.
  • The STRONG High Seas Advisory Board was established in 2018 and has now 15 confirmed members, which include representatives of relevant international and regional organisations, States and scientific institutions (see:…).

Project data

Partner institution(s):
  • Comisión Permanente del Pacífico Sur (CPPS, Permanente Kommission für den Südpazifik)
  • Secretariat of the Abidjan Convention - Ivory Coast
  • Diverse partner institutions (governmental institutions and non-governmental organisations)

BMU grant:
3.771.445,96 €

06/2017  till  05/2022


Strengthening Regional Ocean Governance for the High Seas (PDF, 1.71 MB)

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