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

As of: November 2019

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 contributes 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 negotiations at the United Nations (UN) in 2018 and in March 2019 and will contribute to the negotiation under the Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) for the protection and sustainable use of the marine biodiversity of the high seas process in the future.
  • The regional and UN workshops organised in 2018 as well as the recent workshop in March 2019 in the CPPS region 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.
  • 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 in the March 2019 Dialogue Workshop. This was an important step in developing the necessary collaboration under the project for the Southeast Pacific region. There is wide interest from these stakeholders to further collaboration with the project in the coming years to strengthen ocean governance at the regional level and ensure links with the global level. Representatives of these institutions and ministries have remained pretty much constant since the beginning of the project so that has contributed to the building of trust and acceptance for the project implementation in the region.
  • A similar approach is currently being taken for the Southeast Atlantic for the upcoming Dialogue Workshop in June 2019. However, this region involves more member States and is more complex from a cultural and capacity point of view so that advances in this region are likely to happen in a slower manner than in the Southeast Pacific. The workshop in June 2019 will be organised jointly with the Abidjan Convention and Nairobi Convention Secretariats and provides space for the two Conventions to exchange and share on ongoing and upcoming work on ABNJ and related issues. The ABNJ working group of the Abidjan Convention will meet directly after the workshop to prepare a joint position paper on ABNJ.
  • 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


Implementing organisation:
Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS)

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


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