Unpacking sticky elements of the refreshed draft treaty text, delegates at the fifth session of the intergovernmental conference (IGC-5) on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ) continued their work on Tuesday, 23 August 2022. As well as engaging in closed-door “President’s consultations,” delegates met in informal informals and small-group discussions, addressing provisions on:
- marine genetic resources (MGRs), including questions on the sharing of benefits;
- measures such as area-based management tools (ABMTs), including marine protected areas (MPAs); and
- environmental impact assessments (EIAs).
In their discussions on MGRs, delegates addressed provisions on notification on activities with respect to MGRs of areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ). They concluded their lunchtime session by addressing the definitions of terms related to this part, including on MGRs themselves, their utilization, access ex situ, and access to associated data and information.
On ABMTs, including MPAs, they considered the divisive issue of decision making. What is the relationship of the Conference of the Parties (COP) with other existing competent bodies? Can it work alongside these bodies to support their efforts? How can it best coordinate the creation of new ABMTs in harmony with those already established? These were some of the questions delegates grappled with in their discussions, which carried on into the late evening.
On EIAs, delegates continued their first on-screen reading of the refreshed text on the relevant part. They managed to clear up significant sections of the draft text related to the review of authorized activities and their impacts, and standards, and/or guidelines and guidance related to EIAs. They also discussed the definition of EIA.
In the early evening, IGC President Rena Lee convened the first stocktaking plenary of the week. Facilitators from informal informals provided progress updates of their work. IGC President Lee noted that Wednesday’s “President’s consultations” will address, among others, institutional arrangements. She also urged delegations to make the compromises necessary for consensus, and work on innovative solutions on the difficult parts of the text.