Highlights and images for 28 August 2019


Highlights for Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Box spotted puffer fish from the Philippines, photo by Marcelo Halpern

The third session of the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Biodiversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ) met in two informal working groups on marine genetic resources (MGRs), including benefit-sharing, and on cross-cutting issues. Delegates also met in “informal-informals” to consider aspects related to both area-based management tools (ABMTs), including marine protected areas (MPAs), and environmental impact assessments (EIAs). Delegates dove into choppy waters on Wednesday, opening discussions on some of the key underlying, or overarching, issues that have proved intractable in the past. They shared views on the terms to be included in the new agreement, specifically those related to MGRs, as well as on the most relevant principles on which the future agreement will be anchored. Highlights of the day included, inter alia:

  • Discussions in the informal working group on cross-cutting issues, specifically related to principles and approaches, international cooperation, and implementation and compliance;
  • Discussions in the informal working group on MGRs, touching on the need to align with definitions in relevant frameworks and bodies to maintain legal certainty;
  • Informal-informal discussions on ABMTs, addressing who should be consulted on a proposal for an ABMT, and how these proposals will be assessed; and
  • Informal-informals on EIAs, focusing on strategic environmental assessments, and a list of activities that do or do not require an EIA. 
  • In the corridors, one observer lamented, “it seems like we are stuck in a loop: when we are looking at the substance, decisions are deferred for lack of a definition, and then once we get to the definitions, we are told to wait until we decide on substance.” Others were hopeful that as discussions enter the final stretch, delegates can finally begin to consider the central tenets of the future High Seas instrument, and that those discussions “will help us see the forest for the trees.”For more details on the day’s negotiations and to hear what delegates said in the corridors, see our daily Earth Negotiations Bulletin.

    IISD Reporting Services, through its ENB Meeting Coverage, has provided daily web coverage, daily reports, and a summary and analysis report from BBNJ IGC-3. The summary and analysis report is now available in HTML and PDF.

    Photos by IISD/ENB | Francis Dejon

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    Informal Working Group
    L-R: Janine Coye-Felson, Belize, Facilitator of the informal working group on MGRs; Gabriele Goettsche-Wanli, Director, UN Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea (UNDOALOS); and Charlotte Salpin, UNDOALOS
    Barbara Boechat, Brazil, on behalf of the Like-Minded Latin American Countries
    Janine Coye-Felson, Belize, Facilitator of the informal working group on MGRs
    Gou Haibo, China
    Fuad Bateh, Palestine, on behalf of the G-77/China
    Salaseini Tagicakibau, Fiji, on behalf of the Pacific Small Island Developing States (P-SIDS)
    Mehdi Remaoun, Algeria, on behalf of the African Group
    Ayodhia Kalake, Indonesia
    Susan Whelan, Holy See
    Babajide Alo, Nigeria
    Neha Lugo, US
    L-R: Kahlil Hassanali, Trinidad and Tobago, with Fuad Bateh, Palestine
    L-R: Gou Haibo, China, with Kjell Kristian Egge, Norway
    Sergey Leonidchenko, Russian Federation
    Yuko Hara, Japan
    Alain De Comarmond, Seychelles
    Drusila Esther Bayate, the Philippines
    Kjell Kristian Egge, Norway
    Juliette Babb-Riley, Barbados, on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM)
    Kenneth Wong, Singapore
    Gabrielle Chin, New Zealand
    Vasco Becker-Weinberg, Portugal
    Katie Hamilton, Australia
    Adem Bilgin, Turkey
    John Fintakpa Lamega, Togo
    Hendrik Segers, Belgium
    Kukhyun Ahn, Republic of Korea
    L-R: Ronan Long, Ireland, in conversation with Muhammad Taufan, Indonesia
    L-R: Felizardo Pulumbarit, the Philippines, in consultation with Drusila Esther Bayate, the Philippines
    L-R: Teresa Cruz Sardiñas, Cuba, with Maribel Alvárez, Costa Rica
    Matthías Pálsson, Iceland, with delegates from the Republic of Korea
    Bird's eye view of the informal working group on cross-cutting issues
    Miguel de Serpa Soares, Secretary-General of the IGC, Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and UN Legal Counsel
    IGC President Rena Lee, Singapore, and Facilitator of the informal working group on cross-cutting issues
    Thembile Joyini, South Africa
    Margo Deiye, Nauru, on behalf of P-SIDS
    Diedre Mills, Jamaica, on behalf of CARICOM
    Maria Juliana Tenorio, Colombia, on behalf of the Like-Minded Latin American Countries