**Update: A further resumed IGC-5 will be convened to adopt the text of a High Seas Treaty, at a date to be announced. IGC President Rena Lee suspended the session at 9:53 pm.
**Update 9:25 pm (Saturday, 4 March 2023): IGC President Rena Lee, Singapore, opens the closing plenary, announcing, "The ship has reached the shore!"
**Update 8:00 pm (Saturday, 4 March 2023): After a very brief plenary, delegates reconvened in closed-door negotiations to resolve remaining issues, also related to procedure.
**Update 6:15 pm (Saturday, 4 March 2023): Delegations are still working to address issues related to principles and approaches as well as procedural issues. The timing of plenary still remains pending.
**Update 3:00 pm (Saturday, 4 March 2023): Proceedings continue behind closed doors, including on issues that cut across the draft text of the future high seas treaty, like principles and approaches.
**Update 11:45 am (Saturday, 4 March 2023): In a bid to bridge the gaps in positions, regional groups are meeting with IGC President Rena Lee towards a high seas treaty. Conference Room 2 has been reserved until 6pm on Saturday, with the chance that this timeline may be extended even further to accommodate efforts to achieve a fully clean text.
**Update 9:50 am (Saturday, 4 March 2023): Delegations are still in the President's consultations, resolving what many hope are the "final final" outstanding issues before the semi-formal setting resumes.
**Update 8:55 am (Saturday, 4 March 2023): Delegates work in informal-informal-informals to draft compromise text, including in relation to area-based management tools, to be presented in the President's consultations.
**Update 7:12 am (Saturday, 4 March 2023): Delegates are still working behind closed doors in President's consultations to reach agreement on an acceptable text for a new High Seas agreement.
**Update 6:20 am (Saturday, 4 March 2023): The President's consultations stretch on, with many hoping this bodes well for agreement on a new High Seas treaty.
**Update 5:10 am (Saturday, 4 March 2023): Closed-door President's consultations continue to finalize issues related to marine genetic resources (MGRs), including on benefit-sharing, environmental impact assessments (EIAs), and institutional arrangements. Plenary will reconvene when the President finalizes her consultations on these and other related issues.
**Update 4:15 am (Saturday, 4 March 2023): Delegates are still holed up in President's consultations, with observers and a number of others awaiting the outcome of those deliberations in order to, hopefully, conclude on a new treaty.
**Update 3:05 am (Saturday, 4 March 2023): Delegates continue to try to reach consensus in closed-door President's consultations on a cluster of issues that could form the package for a new agreement on the conservation and sustainable use of BBNJ.
**Update 1:29 am (Saturday, 4 March 2023): Reconvening the informaI informal, IGC President Rena Lee requested delegates to continue the Conference in English only, underlining that the work "we are undertaking is progressing well." She announced that the text "to date" would be uploaded on the website for delegates to begin review. She suspended the informal informal to allow for the President's consultations to resume.
**Update 1:15 am (Saturday, 4 March 2023): President's consultations are still ongoing, with plenary suspended awaiting the outcome of those consultations.
**Update 12:15 am (Saturday, 4 March 2023): Delegations continue to await the outcome of President's consultations on the most pressing outstanding matters, including MGRs.
**Update 9:10 pm: IGC President Rena Lee suspends the informal informal to allow for President's consultations on outstanding issues, including MGRs, to continue.
**Update 7:35 pm: The IGC convenes in an informal informal to address outstanding brackets in the text.
It is the closing day of the resumed fifth session of the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC-5.2) on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ).
During the morning plenary, facilitators updated delegates on the deliberations so far on: EIAs; capacity building and the transfer of marine technology (CB&TT); and cross-cutting issues, including the preamble, institutional arrangements, implementation, compliance, and dispute settlement. They stressed considerable progress, including some breakthroughs on long-standing controversial issues.
Sitting in for IGC President Rena Lee, Bureau Vice-President Martin Zvachula, Federated States of Micronesia, shared that the President’s consultations, which ran into the night on Thursday, would carry on for the rest of Friday. He urged delegates to exhaust their flexibility and spirit of compromise “for a final push towards reaching agreement.”
Vladimir Jares, Director, UN Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea (UNDOALOS), reported on the status of the Voluntary Trust Fund for the purpose of assisting developing countries, in particular the least developed countries (LDCs), land-locked developing countries (LLDCs), and small island developing states (SIDS). He thanked those that contributed to the Fund, noting that it was able to facilitate participation by many developing countries in the meeting. He highlighted the Fund’s importance, reminded delegates that funding streams are not limited to states, and encouraged all to promote the Fund and contribute to its healthy functioning.
Palau, for Pacific SIDS (P-SIDS), stressed the need for a global Ocean governance framework for area beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ), which will “protect the marine environment we rely on, and are connected to, at a spiritual and cultural level.”
Delegates spent the rest of the day in the President’s consultations, and in informal-informals, working to produce clean text on: CB&TT; and cross-cutting issues, specifically related to institutional arrangements. During the informal CB&TT, Facilitator Ligia Flores managed to lead delegates in cleaning the remainder of the text related to: the definition of marine technology; additional modalities for transfer of marine technology; and provisions in annex II on types of CB&TT.
During the informal-informal on institutional arrangements, delegates were unable to make progress on discussions related to the operation and functioning of the Conference of the Parties, with many linking these discussions to other parts of the text, which may be included as part of the treaty package.
At 5:00 pm, IGC President Rena Lee updated delegations on the status of negotiations. She reported that heads of delegation have been working in the President’s consultations addressing the issue of marine genetic resources (MGRs) and that “a solution is now in sight.” She said this work would continue, and in the meantime informal-informals to address any remaining brackets in other parts of the draft agreement would convene. She further informed delegations that once the text is finalized, it will be put together by the Secretariat, after which a plenary will convene at an unspecified time to allow delegates an opportunity to review the text. She noted that delegates would need to agree on the text for it to be sent for technical editing, after which it will be translated into all official UN languages. She said IGC-5 would thereafter be suspended to reconvene at a later date to formally adopt the text.
Please return to this page for further updates.
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All ENB photos are free to use with attribution. For the Resumed 5th Session of the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) on BBNJ, please use: Photo by IISD/ENB | Mike Muzurakis