Vol. 25 No. 43
SUMMARY OF THE EIGHTH MEETING OF THE UN
OPEN-ENDED INFORMAL CONSULTATIVE PROCESS ON
OCEANS AND THE LAW OF THE SEA:
The eighth meeting of the UN Open-Ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea (ICP-8 or Consultative Process) took place from 25-29 June 2007, at UN headquarters in New York. The meeting brought together over 400 representatives from governments, intergovernmental organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and academic institutions.
Delegates convened in plenary sessions throughout the week to: exchange views on areas of concern and actions needed, including on issues discussed at previous meetings; discuss cooperation and coordination on oceans issues, particularly as they relate to marine genetic resources (MGRs); and identify issues that could benefit from attention in future work of the General Assembly on oceans and the law of the sea. In addition, a discussion panel was held to consider various aspects of MGRs.
The Co-Chairs, Cristián Maquieira (Chile) and Lori Ridgeway (Canada), developed a draft text of elements to be suggested to the General Assembly, drawing from the panel discussions, to be considered by plenary. In the subsequent negotiations, delegates were unable to agree on key language referring to the relevant legal regime for MGRs in areas beyond national jurisdiction and, as a result, no consensus text on elements will be forwarded to the General Assembly for consideration. However, the Co-Chairs announced that they would include the draft elements and recommendations within the Co-Chairs’ Report of ICP-8 to the General Assembly, including an explanation of the divergence of views. Although some expressed disappointment about the stalemate, most delegates emphasized that the exchange of views and panel discussions had been valuable learning experiences. All eyes seemed to turn to the next meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Informal Working Group on marine biodiversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction, which will take place in the first half of 2008, as the forum for continuing this debate.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE LAW OF THE SEA AND THE CONSULTATIVE PROCESS
On 1 November 1967, Malta’s Ambassador to the UN, Arvid Pardo, asked the nations of the world to recognize a looming conflict that could devastate the oceans. In a speech to the General Assembly, he called for “an effective international regime over the seabed and the ocean floor beyond a clearly defined national jurisdiction.” The speech set in motion a process that spanned 15 years and saw the creation of the UN Seabed Committee, the signing of a treaty banning nuclear weapons on the seabed, the adoption of a declaration by the General Assembly that all resources of the seabed beyond the limits of national jurisdiction are the common heritage of mankind, and the convening of the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment. These were some of the factors that led to the convening of the Third UN Conference on the Law of the Sea during which the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) was adopted.
UNCLOS: Opened for signature on 10 December 1982, in Montego Bay, Jamaica, at the third UN Conference on the Law of the Sea, UNCLOS sets forth the rights and obligations of states regarding the use of the oceans, their resources, and the protection of the marine and coastal environment. UNCLOS entered into force on 16 November 1994, and is supplemented by the 1994 Deep Seabed Mining Agreement and the 1995 Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of UNCLOS relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks (UNFSA).
UNCED: The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) was held in June 1992, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Chapter 17 of Agenda 21, the programme of action adopted in Rio, addresses “the protection of the oceans, all kinds of seas, including enclosed and semi-enclosed seas, and coastal areas and the protection, rational use and development of their living resources.” This remains the fundamental programme of action for achieving sustainable development of oceans and seas.
UNGA RESOLUTION 54/33: On 24 November 1999, the General Assembly adopted resolution 54/33 on the results of the review undertaken by the Commission on Sustainable Development at its seventh session on the theme of “Oceans and seas.” In this resolution, the General Assembly established an open-ended informal consultative process to facilitate the annual review of developments in oceans affairs. The General Assembly decided that the Consultative Process would consider the Secretary-General’s annual reports on oceans and the law of the sea, and suggest particular issues to be considered by the General Assembly, with an emphasis on identifying areas where intergovernmental and interagency coordination and cooperation should be enhanced.
ICP-1 to 3: The first three meetings of the Consultative Process were co-chaired by Tuiloma Neroni Slade (Samoa) and Alan Simcock (UK). Each meeting identified issues to be suggested and elements to be proposed to the General Assembly, and highlighted issues that could benefit from attention in its future work. The first meeting of the Consultative Process (30 May-2 June 2000, New York) held discussion panels addressing fisheries, and the impacts of marine pollution and degradation. The second meeting of the Consultative Process (7-11 May 2001, New York) focused on marine science and technology, and coordination and cooperation in combating piracy and armed robbery at sea. The third meeting of the Consultative Process (8-15 April 2002, New York) held discussion panels on the protection and preservation of the marine environment, capacity building, regional cooperation and coordination, and integrated oceans management.
WORLD SUMMIT ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: The World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) (26 August - 4 September 2002, Johannesburg, South Africa) negotiated and adopted two main documents: the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI) and the Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development. Among the 11 chapters of the JPOI, which provide a framework for action to implement sustainable development commitments, Chapter IV on “Protecting and Managing the Natural Resource Base of Economic and Social Development” contains several paragraphs on the sustainable development of oceans that address, inter alia: water pollution prevention for the protection of ecosystems; improved cooperation and coordination on oceans and coastal issues within the UN system; and the application by 2010 of the ecosystem approach to marine areas.
UNGA RESOLUTION 57/141: On 12 December 2002, the 57th session of the General Assembly adopted resolution 57/141 on Oceans and the law of the sea. The General Assembly welcomed the previous work of the Consultative Process, extended it for an additional three years, and decided to review the Consultative Process’ effectiveness and utility at its 60th session.
ICP-4 and 5: These two meetings were co-chaired by Philip Burgess (Australia) and Felipe Paolillo (Uruguay). The fourth meeting of the Consultative Process (2-6 June 2003, New York) adopted recommendations on safety of navigation, the protection of vulnerable marine ecosystems, and cooperation and coordination on oceans issues. The fifth meeting of the Consultative Process (7-11 June 2004, New York) adopted recommendations on new sustainable uses of the oceans, including the conservation and management of the biological diversity of the seabed in areas beyond national jurisdiction.
ICP-6: The sixth meeting of the Consultative Process (6-10 June 2005, New York), co-chaired by Philip Burgess (Australia) and Cristián Maquieira (Chile), adopted recommendations on fisheries and their contribution to sustainable development, and considered the issue of marine debris.
ICP-7: The seventh meeting of the Consultative Process (12-16 June 2006, New York), co-chaired by Lori Ridgeway (Canada) and Cristián Maquieira (Chile), enhanced understanding of ecosystem-based management, and adopted recommendations on ecosystem approaches and oceans.
The eighth meeting of the Consultative Process opened on Monday, 25 June 2007, at UN headquarters in New York. Co-Chair Cristián Maquieira highlighted the importance of ICP-8 for gaining knowledge on access, scientific complexity, and economic and legal issues related to MGRs. He said that ICP-8 is a preliminary session to gather information in order to form the basis for future negotiation and discussion. Co-Chair Lori Ridgeway noted the need to find common understanding on trends and the way forward regarding MGRs. She said that MGR science and technology may be running ahead of policy development, and highlighted the need to identify MGRs’ unique characteristics and associated risks.
Co-Chair Ridgeway introduced the meeting agenda, which was adopted without amendment (A/AC.259/L.8).
During the week, plenary sessions were held on Monday, Thursday and Friday to address: areas of concern and actions needed, including on issues discussed at previous meetings; cooperation and coordination on oceans issues, particularly as they relate to marine genetic resources; issues that could benefit from attention in future work of the General Assembly on oceans and the law of the sea; and elements to be suggested to the General Assembly for consideration. States were invited to provide written submissions regarding issues for further consideration.
The discussion panel on marine genetic resources (MGRs) met from Monday through Wednesday to consider: understanding MGRs, their vulnerability and the services they provide; understanding the activities related to MGRs and other relevant aspects, including experiences in collection and commercialization; and international cooperation and coordination on issues related to MGRs, including current activities at the global and regional levels and current and future challenges.
On Wednesday evening, the Co-Chairs’ draft elements to be suggested to the General Assembly for consideration were distributed, and then revised and redistributed on Thursday afternoon. After discussion in plenary, a third draft was distributed on Thursday evening for discussion on Friday.
AREAS OF CONCERN AND ACTIONS NEEDED: This agenda item was addressed in plenary on Monday and Thursday. Delegates considered issues pertaining to: MGRs beyond national jurisdiction; MGRs within national jurisdiction; scientific research and commercialization; capacity building; and other issues.
MGRs beyond national jurisdiction: Pakistan, for the Group of 77 and China (G-77/China), welcomed consideration of MGRs, which they asserted are part of the common heritage of mankind. Iceland said MGRs in areas beyond national jurisdiction are subject to the high seas regime of UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Norway said threats to biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction can be addressed using existing legal instruments. The US cautioned that a new international regime to protect MGRs in areas beyond national jurisdiction would inhibit research. Germany, for the European Union (EU), called for developing a comprehensive and practical framework for the preservation, exploration and exploitation of MGRs in areas beyond national jurisdiction, within the UNCLOS framework.
Argentina said ICP-8 should focus on developing specific standards for accessing MGRs in areas beyond national jurisdiction. Trinidad and Tobago, with Mexico, recommended the development of legal rules. Malaysia highlighted the need for a code of conduct for the research and commercialization of MGRs in areas beyond national jurisdiction, and the US suggested that scientists develop self-imposed codes of conduct. The Republic of Korea sought further discussion on establishing a clear and practical legal regime for exploiting MGRs beyond national jurisdiction.
Suriname, with South Africa, emphasized that all activities affecting the Area (the seabed and subsoil beyond national jurisdiction) should be conducted under the principle of the common heritage of mankind. Norway said the principle of common heritage of mankind only applies to mineral resources. Kenya, with India, stressed that the equitable sharing of MGR benefits should be implemented by the international community. Brazil, with New Zealand, said ICP-8’s discussion would contribute to the 2008 meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Informal Working Group on marine biodiversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction.
MGRs within national jurisdiction: The US reminded delegates that resources within national jurisdiction should also be considered, noting that such research is relatively cost-effective and much remains to be discovered. Norway, with Australia, urged states to put national legislation in place to regulate bioprospecting and clarify benefit-sharing, based on the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Bonn Guidelines on Access and Benefit-Sharing. The International Ocean Institute called for fair and equitable access and benefit-sharing, taking into account developing countries’ needs. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) highlighted the need for mechanisms concerning access and intellectual property rights to be consistent with protecting biodiversity.
Canada suggested considering regulatory approaches that provide certainty, flexibility and benefit-sharing, and called for balancing public and private benefits through partnerships. Trinidad and Tobago stressed that MGR research partnerships are useful, but benefits must help the source country. Papua New Guinea, for the Pacific Islands Forum, emphasized the need for effective regulatory approaches for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity. The Republic of Korea sought further discussion on whether MGRs within national jurisdiction are subject to the same legal conditions as fisheries resources.
Scientific research and commercialization: Palau, with Chile, highlighted that without precautionary, ecosystem-based management, deep sea resources could become overexploited before longer-term benefits can be developed. The G-77/China, with Brazil, noted that the distinction between pure and applied marine scientific research has not been universally accepted. The US asserted that findings relating to MGRs would not lead to a “gold rush” of profits, but would improve science and understanding of deep-sea biodiversity. Japan said that bioprospecting increases scientific knowledge and benefits mankind, and opposed unnecessary regulation of bioprospecting. India underscored that developing countries’ participation depends on the scientific data available to them.
Canada called for improving understanding of MGRs and their potential uses, maximizing research and facilitating access without endangering MGRs. Greenpeace highlighted that the current lack of knowledge of deep-sea ecosystems makes their protection all the more urgent. The International Transport Workers’ Federation, on behalf of several NGOs, urged adopting a precautionary approach to bioprospecting.
Capacity building: China urged the international community to increase funding for research and encouraged cooperation for developing country capacity building. The Bahamas said small island developing states (SIDS) need assistance in developing national bioprospecting legislation and using complex databases, and suggested that the UN Division of Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea (UN-DOALOS) compile information on capacity-building opportunities and institutions for developing countries. Venezuela called on the UN and international financial institutions to provide technical and financial assistance to strengthen capacities to access MGRs.
Other issues: Argentina emphasized that achieving sustainable high seas fisheries would require improved flag state controls, and added that any mechanism to establish marine protected areas (MPAs) beyond national jurisdiction must be inclusive and take coastal state interests into account. The Deep Sea Conservation Coalition, with Greenpeace, called for an UNCLOS implementing agreement, including a network of marine reserves, to address threats in an integrated manner.
The Sierra Club called for multilateral action to address the threat posed to marine biodiversity by anthropogenic noise. Costa Rica, supported by Venezuela, IUCN and Humane Society International, discussed sharkfinning as a barrier to achieving sustainable fisheries and healthy ocean ecosystems. The Turtle Island Restoration Network sought global protection for turtles through time and area closures and protection of migration corridors. IUCN urged combating illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, and ensuring flag state implementation.
UNEP reported on the World Conservation Monitoring Centre’s effort to promote an integrated ecosystem-based approach to ocean management. The United Nations University (UNU) discussed the recently established Global Marine Governance Project, which assesses bioprospecting in the Antarctic, Arctic, the Pacific Island Countries and marine areas. FAO described relevant work of its Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, and said fisheries management is limited by the lack of effective policies and recognition of the importance of fish genetic resources. The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (UNESCO/IOC) noted, inter alia, establishment of: an expert group on Biogeographic Classification Systems in Open Ocean and Deep Seabed Areas; and criteria and guidelines on the development and transfer of marine technology. The International Maritime Organization, anticipating ICP-9 discussions on maritime safety and security, expressed concern about acts of piracy disrupting humanitarian aid to Somalia, and human rights violations of migrants at sea.
COOPERATION AND COORDINATION ON OCEAN ISSUES, ESPECIALLY RELATING TO MARINE GENETIC RESOURCES: Anne Rogers, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, discussed the history and progress of UN-Oceans, presenting a matrix of its activities from 2006-2007. She noted that the UN-Oceans Task Force on Biodiversity in Marine Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction is still continuing its work. Rogers said a new UN-Oceans Task Force on MPAs and Other Area-based Management Tools was established in May 2007 at UN-Oceans’ fifth formal meeting.
Salif Diop, UNEP, reported on progress of the “Assessment of Assessments” of the regular process for global reporting and assessment of the state of the marine environment, including socioeconomic aspects. He said the Ad Hoc Steering Group to oversee the “Assessment of Assessments” and the Group of Experts have been put in place. He said the “Assessment of Assessments” summary report is expected to be ready in 2009, and will consist of three parts: a state of the assessment landscape for oceans and coasts; an evaluation of existing assessments; and a framework and options for the regular process.
During the ensuring debate, delegates discussed participation in the UN-Oceans Task Forces, and, on regular reporting mechanisms and strengthening transparency for UN-Oceans. Rogers proposed updating the matrix regularly and posting it on the UN-Oceans website.
ISSUES THAT COULD BENEFIT FROM ATTENTION IN FUTURE WORK OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY ON OCEANS AND THE LAW OF THE SEA: Introducing the agenda item, Co-Chair Ridgeway: noted difficulties faced in planning ICP-8, and urged delegates to begin planning well in advance of ICP-9; requested delegates to set parameters for ICP-9’s theme of “Maritime security and safety”; encouraged parties to contribute to the Voluntary Trust Fund to facilitate participation of developing country delegates and panelists in future ICPs; and suggested delegates begin providing recommendations for ICP-10’s theme.
The EU said the Secretary-General’s report should reflect ICP-8’s discussion to ensure a follow up to the meeting. Iceland suggested the structure of ICP-9 could begin with an examination of Australia’s proposed maritime security framework and outcomes from the conference on Legal Challenges in Maritime Security held in Heidelberg, Germany, in May 2007. Brazil proposed ICP-10 focus on the social aspects of oceans and the law of the sea. Kenya suggested discussing consequences of and adaptation to climate change, and Norway, with Iceland, suggested IUU fishing as a topic for ICP-10 in 2009.
UNDERSTANDING MARINE GENETIC RESOURCES, THEIR VULNERABILITY AND THE SERVICES THEY PROVIDE: On Monday afternoon, Frank Oliver Glöckner, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Germany, highlighted that marine microorganisms are both a driver and an indicator of global climate change, and would inevitably be used as genetic resources for new enzymes and reactions that can be utilized for pharmaceutical and industrial applications. Glöckner underscored the need for a stable intellectual property rights framework to ensure investigations of MGRs, as well as the need for investment in laboratory infrastructure in order to analyze the data acquired from marine genome sequencing projects.
Curtis Suttle, University of British Columbia, Canada, discussed the ocean’s unexplored genetic diversity, notably its microbial resources, which comprise 95% of the biomass in the ocean and drive global geochemical cycles. Suttle said humans still know very little about microbes’ genetic diversity, the composition of their communities and factors controlling their distribution. Noting the lack of knowledge on microbes’ vulnerability to environmental changes or their potential role in climate change, he called for enhanced research on oceanic microbial life.
Libby Evans-Illidge, Australian Institute of Marine Science, discussed practical databases and knowledge-sharing for MGRs, and highlighted existing tools to access marine biodiversity data and networking projects. As examples, she pointed to various databases such as the UN Atlas of the Oceans and the Census of Marine Life. She underscored lack of consistency in taxonomy as a challenge to integrating databases, and emphasized that biodiversity conservation is fundamental to realizing MGRs’ potential.
David Rowley, University of Rhode Island, US, discussed services provided by MGRs, explaining that as well as providing oxygen production, carbon cycling, ecosystem stability and food, marine biodiversity also yields compounds and microorganisms for medical and industrial applications. He said many organisms produce useful compounds in very limited amounts, raising issues of production and supply. Rowley called for improved marine ecosystem conservation, cross-disciplinary collaboration between scientists and engineers, and knowledge-sharing through open-access databases.
In the ensuing discussion, delegates addressed, inter alia: the impact on ecosystems of sampling microbes; improving knowledge of MGRs; the proportion of MGR ownership by developed and developing countries and multinational corporations; effects of climate change on microbial organisms; movement of organisms beyond national jurisdiction; the dynamic nature of hydrothermal vents; and the dilemma between intellectual property rights and information sharing, A more detailed summary of these presentations and discussions is available at: http://enb.iisd.org/vol25/enb2539e.html
UNDERSTANDING THE ACTIVITIES RELATED TO MARINE GENETIC RESOURCES AND OTHER RELEVANT ASPECTS: EXPERIENCES IN COLLECTION: On Tuesday morning, Sophie Arnaud-Haond, French Research Institute for the Exploitation of the Sea, presented on genetic resources around hydrothermal vents, cold seeps and nodules in the deep sea, stressing that access using ships, submarines and robots is difficult and costly. She said knowledge is needed to: understand how deep sea systems interrelate with ecosystem cycles; and construct ocean conservation strategies to address threats from extractive industries and global warming.
Marcia Creary, University of the West Indies, Jamaica, explained that the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) governs Jamaica’s endangered species, but because many species are not endemic to Jamaica, they do not require a Material Transfer Agreement for export. Creary discussed challenges facing Jamaica’s MGR management, stressing that SIDS need to establish controlled access, prior informed consent, participation in research, and mechanisms to share proceeds from MGR activities.
John Hooper, Queensland Museum, Australia, discussed maximizing research benefits from biodiscovery for both research and coastal states. He highlighted Queensland’s 2004 Biodiscovery Act, which established a legislative framework to, inter alia,, regulate collection, enable investment, and ensure fair and equitable benefit-sharing. He said research states benefit commercially from the discovery of new structures and compounds, while coastal state benefits include capacity building in taxonomy and new knowledge relevant to bioregional planning.
Emma Sarne, Philippine Permanent Mission to the UN, on behalf of Maria Rowena, Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center, discussed bioprospecting and the management of MGRs in the Verde Island Passage Marine Corridor. Noting threats to MGRs, including illegal trade and fishing, she outlined a 1995 Executive Order to regulate bioprospecting and biopiracy activities in the Philippines. She emphasized benefits of bioprospecting for academic pursuits, but said foreign patents put source country control of MGRs at risk.
In the ensuing discussion, delegates addressed, inter alia: enabling environments that could improve bioprospecting access and research, issues related to biopiracy, drafting regulatory legislation, codes of conduct for scientists, destructive sampling methods, monitoring impacts of MGR collection, databases, capacity building for taxonomy, and species mobility. A more detailed summary of these presentations and discussions is available at: http://enb.iisd.org/vol25/enb2540e.html
EXPERIENCES IN COMMERCIALIZATION: On Tuesday afternoon, Geoff Burton, Jean Shannon and Associates, Australia, outlined how both public and private research bodies are commercializing MGRs and underscored that new drugs primarily come from natural sources. He said MGR commercialization is largely driven by specialized biotechnology companies and publicly funded bodies. He supported managing legal and commercial risks, said companies are keen to ensure samples are collected legally, and urged governments to provide legal certainty and reliable taxonomic information.
Marc Slattery, University of Mississippi, US, discussed experiences in commercializing MGRs, particularly in the pharmaceutical field. He reported that commercially launching a drug can take between 15 and 30 years, and that very few samples ever have commercial potential. Slattery said governments should not expect immediate success, but rather should focus on the benefits of research collaboration, including improved scientific knowledge and technology transfer, local educational opportunities, and assistance in solving marine environmental problems.
Simon Munt, PharmaMar, Spain, said his biopharmaceutical company focuses on the discovery and development of marine-derived medicines. He explained the business case for undertaking MGR research and conserving biodiversity, stating that 60% of new chemicals reaching the market over the last 20 years have natural origins. Munt advocated the need for legal certainty to protect research investment and, describing the process of using macro- and micro-organisms and environmental DNA to develop medicinal products, emphasized that the process takes at least 15 years and does not guarantee success.
Maureen McKenzie, Denali BioTechnologies, addressed economic self-determination and commercialization of subsistence marine resources of Alaska Natives, and said Denali depends heavily on the wisdom of native people for commercial resource use, particularly for nutraceuticals. She said the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act includes self-imposed ethical standards and “fair treatment” provisions, and noted implementation of a “biodiversity access agreement” with a tiered royalty/profit sharing model, and compensation based on the extent of participation in product development and commercialization.
In the ensuing discussion, delegates addressed, inter alia: enabling research in areas beyond national jurisdiction; whether national regulatory mechanisms could discourage companies from undertaking marine research within national jurisdiction; natural versus synthetic products; intellectual property options for industry; existing access and benefit-sharing arrangements between companies and coastal states; and facilitating participation by developing countries with limited resources. A more detailed summary of these presentations and discussions is available at: http://enb.iisd.org/vol25/enb2540e.html
INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION AND COORDINATION ON ISSUES RELATED TO MARINE GENETIC RESOURCES: CURRENT ACTIVITIES AT THE GLOBAL AND REGIONAL LEVELS: On Wednesday morning, Jihyun Lee, CBD Secretariat, outlined CBD Articles and CoP8 decisions relating to MGRs, such as the decision on the conservation and sustainable use of deep seabed genetic resources beyond national jurisdiction. She also outlined a number of studies on high seas management to be considered at the thirteenth meeting of CBD’s Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice in February 2008.
Rama Rao, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), described WIPO’s work on genetic resources, which he said deals chiefly with traditional knowledge relating to genetic resources. He also outlined a set of draft provisions developed by the WIPO Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore to assist policymakers in drawing up protection for traditional knowledge.
Tony Ribbink, Sustainable Seas Trust, South Africa, discussed the African Coelacanth Ecosystem Programme, which he said is a New Partnership for Africa’s Development marine project and explained that the Programme is a collaborative conservation project between nine African countries.
Margaret Tivey, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, US, stressed the need for research on how deep sea hydrothermal vent organisms adapt to the high pressure, low light, little to no oxygen and high toxicity associated with vent fields. Tivey outlined guidelines for conducting scientific research to prevent, inter aliaa, deleterious impacts on the sustainability of populations of vent organisms.
In the ensuing discussions, participants addressed: the need for government and scientist involvement in developing policies on codes of conduct; ways in which ocean-dependent communities can benefit from indigenous knowledge; disclosure of the origin of genetic material that contributes to a patented product; and the need for better taxonomy to support intellectual property. A summary of these presentations and discussions is available online at: http://enb.iisd.org/vol25/enb2541e.html
CURRENT AND FUTURE CHALLENGES: On Wednesday afternoon, Harlan Cohen, IUCN, spoke on ensuring conservation and sustainable use of MGRs and how UNCLOS provisions on international cooperation in marine scientific research and on environmental impact assessment also offer building blocks for considering MGR management in areas beyond jurisdiction.
Marcos de Almeida, Ministry of Defense, Brazil, on behalf of Cassiano Monteiro-Neto, Fluminense Federal University, Brazil, highlighted barriers to scientific research in the high seas such as high costs and lack of international cooperation, and noted the promise that MGRs hold for biotechnology uses such as aquaculture, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. Almeida said few of the approximately 1700 biotechnology research groups in Brazil are working with MGRs.
Timothy Hodges, Co-Chair, CBD Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Access and Benefit-Sharing, discussed capacity building and technology transfer challenges and opportunities, noted connections between activities on MGRs under UNCLOS and under the CBD, and outlined the CBD “Action Plan” on capacity building related to access and benefit-sharing.
Sam Johnston, UNU, provided an overview of regional efforts to address genetic resource use, focusing on examples from the Antarctic Treaty system, which he said had much in common with efforts to consider MGRs under UNCLOS. He also outlined the development of an Antarctic bioprospecting database to provide scientists and policymakers with a more systematic presentation of data on the issue.
Lisa Speer, Natural Resources Defense Council, discussed challenges related to conserving and appropriately managing MGRs, especially overfishing, destructive fishing practices, climate change and ocean acidification. She called for a new UNCLOS implementing agreement to consider managing MGRs in these areas.
In the ensuing discussions, participants discussed: examples of transfer of technology and capacity building within developing counties; conserving the oceans because of their intrinsic value and their value to humanity; preventing destructive practices; better flag-state controls on vessels; international cooperation and coordination for conserving MGRs; ways to regulate activities in the deep seabed; and the possibility of creating a clearinghouse mechanism for MGRs to prevent repetitive sampling. A summary of these presentations and discussions is available online at: http://enb.iisd.org/vol25/enb2541e.html
An initial draft Co-Chairs’ text on possible elements to be suggested to the General Assembly for consideration was distributed on Wednesday afternoon. Delegates submitted comments through Thursday afternoon, when a revised Co-Chairs’ draft text was distributed to delegates for discussion in plenary, following which a third revised Co-Chairs’ draft text was prepared. This text was discussed throughout Friday, with numerous breaks during the day to allow for informal consultations. By 11:00 pm, delegates had reached agreement on several paragraphs but, despite repeated efforts, were unable to agree on key text referring to the relevant legal regime for MGRs in areas beyond national jurisdiction. The negotiations ended without consensus late Friday evening.
Agreement was reached on several of the proposed elements, but fundamental differences of opinion on the legal status of MGRs stymied negotiations. As a result, the Co-Chairs’ Report will contain the Co-Chairs recommended elements for consideration by the General Assembly, and will reflect the areas of consensus and disagreement.
In addition to chapeau language, delegates considered text on: abundance and diversity of MGRs; vulnerability of marine biodiversity; the UNCLOS legal framework; the role of the CBD; sovereign rights of coastal states; marine scientific research; identifying and mapping biodiversity; research benefits of MGRs; commercial development of MGRs; intellectual property regimes; capacity building; taxonomy; encouraging research; technological and financial challenges and international collaborative opportunities; and access, research and use of MGRs beyond national jurisdiction. Delegates had not yet considered text on, inter aliaa: existing international efforts, codes of conduct and standards for MGR exploration when negotiations were halted.
General comments: Pakistan, for the G-77/China, said their views were not adequately reflected in the document. He also suggested adding paragraphs referencing the need to give developing countries sufficient time to prepare for the Consultative Process, and for the Co-Chairs to ensure equal and timely nomination of developing country representatives on the discussion panels. Václav Mikulka, Director, UN-DOALOS, praised the Co-Chairs’ efforts to facilitate attendance by representative panelists. Egypt lamented that the issue of biopiracy was not reflected in document.
Chapeau: The Co-Chairs’ proposed chapeau language highlighted the divergence of views among states as to whether MGRs in areas beyond national jurisdiction are governed by UNCLOS provisions relating to the Area, including the principle of the common heritage of mankind, or by the provisions relating to the high seas. Reference was also made to further discussions that will take place in the Ad Hoc Open-ended Informal Working Group on marine biodiversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction.
Brazil proposed language reflecting that, because of the difference of views on MGRs in areas beyond national jurisdiction, delegates agreed that further discussions would take place in the Ad Hoc Informal Working Group. He also called for text reflecting that there were divergent views on the application of the principle of the common heritage of mankind to activities and resources in the Area, and whether such resources should be used for the benefit of mankind as a whole, or on a “first come, first served” basis.
Opposing Brazil’s suggestion, Iceland said the chapeau should be neutral. Australia noted agreement on the need to discuss issues related to areas beyond national jurisdictions in the Ad Hoc Informal Working Group. No agreement was reached on the chapeau.
Abundance and diversity of MGRs: This paragraph was agreed to by delegates with minor amendments. The text notes the abundance and diversity of MGRs, their dynamic nature, and the role of these resources as important constituents of marine biodiversity, geochemical cycles and sustaining life on earth.
Vulnerability of marine biodiversity: This paragraph addresses the vulnerability of marine biodiversity posed by direct threats. To this paragraph, Canada proposed adding reference to MGRs, and, opposed by the G-77/China, deleting reference to overexploitation and destructive fishing practices. The US proposed adding reference to naturally occurring processes, which India and others opposed. On reference to diverse threats, the US preferred “influences” to “threats,” and delegates agreed to include both references.
The text notes the vulnerability of marine biological diversity, including MGRs, to diverse threats and influences, including pollution, climate change, habitat destruction, destructive fishing practices, physical alteration of the environment and overexploitation.
UNCLOS legal framework: This element recognizes UNCLOS as the legal framework for all oceans and seas activities. The G-77/China said in order for discussions to continue on the elements, this paragraph should highlight the divergence of views concerning the legal framework of MGRs in areas beyond national jurisdiction, namely whether MGRs fall under the regime for the Area or under the regime for the high seas. He explained that this paragraph is linked to a number of other paragraphs, including the one on codes of conduct for exploration and sampling of MGRs, and on intellectual property rights, and proposed deleting the entire paragraph, stating that UNCLOS is already accepted as the overarching legal regime for ocean activities. Iceland opposed deleting the paragraph.
Following informal consultations, the G-77/China, opposed by Australia, Iceland, Norway, the Russian Federation and the US, proposed an additional paragraph urging states to address the issues laid out in the Secretary-General’s report on the need for the status of MGRs in areas beyond national jurisdiction to be clarified due to the divergence of views, and encouraging further discussions to take place in the Ad Hoc Informal Working Group. The EU, supported by the G-77/China, proposed text stating that discussions would be within the Ad Hoc Informal Working Group’s mandate for its 2008 meeting.
Australia proposed language noting the discussion of the legal regime for areas beyond national jurisdiction and encouraging further discussions to take place in the context of the mandate of the Ad Hoc Informal Working Group in 2008. The US, Australia, Norway, Iceland and the Russian Federation opposed including reference to the divergence of opinions on this topic. A lengthy debate ensued between the two options, and delegates broke into informal discussions once again in an effort to reach consensus.
A final text was then tabled, which noted discussion on the relevant legal regime on MGRs in areas beyond national jurisdiction in accordance with the Convention, and called on states to further consider this issue in the context of the mandate of the Ad Hoc Informal Working Group with a view to making further progress on the issue. Iceland, Canada, the EU, Japan, the Russian Federation and the US supported this proposal. Brazil said he could accept the text if a reference to the general principles contained in UNCLOS was accepted. No consensus could be reached.
The role of the CBD:: This paragraph recognizes the important role of the CBD and its objectives. Australia, supported by the EU, proposed including language on pursuing the CBD’s objectives in accordance with its relevant provisions. Iceland, supported by Brazil, preferred adding language stating that benefits of genetic resources would occur within national jurisdiction. Parties agreed to include both suggestions.
The text recognizes the important role of the CBD, and lists its objectives as: the conservation of biological diversity and the sustainable use of its components; and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources within national jurisdiction or control.
The sovereign rights of coastal states: This paragraph recognizes that coastal states have sovereign rights with respect to marine resources in areas within national jurisdiction. Supporting a previous statement by the G-77/China, the Philippines, with Colombia, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Peru and the Russian Federation, proposed including “sovereignty” along with sovereign rights. The US clarified that sovereignty applies to territorial seas and waters, and sovereign right to the Exclusive Economic Zone and added wording on rights and “duties” and marine “living” resources. Iceland proposed wording that included sovereignty and sovereign rights and duties, but excluded living marine resources. After further minor amendments, delegates agreed.
The text recognizes that coastal states have sovereignty or sovereign rights, as appropriate, and duties, with respect to resources, including MGRs, in areas within national jurisdiction in accordance with international law, in particular the Convention.
Marine scientific research:: This paragraph stresses the importance of marine scientific research. The US proposed referring to “research” instead of “marine and other scientific research,” which Argentina and India opposed. Mexico suggested the paragraph only refer to marine and scientific research, which was accepted by the US, pending decisions on other elements.
The text notes the importance of sharing, disseminating and using results of current marine and other scientific research.
Identifying and mapping biodiversity: This paragraph notes the importance of identifying and mapping biodiversity to improve the understanding of MGRs. The G-77/China suggested adding that this be done with consent of the coastal states as appropriate, while Argentina preferred “with consent of the coastal states, within areas of national jurisdiction.” Australia, supported by Brazil, Norway and the US, proposed that identifying and mapping be done in accordance with the Convention, and the G-77/China agreed.
The text notes the importance of identifying and mapping biodiversity across all marine ecosystems for improving understanding of the ecological functions, conservation needs, and current and potential uses of MGRs, in accordance with the Convention.
Research benefits of MGRs: This paragraph addresses the potential benefits of research on MGRs and the importance of conservation in safeguarding these benefits. Proposals were made to: replace ecosystem performance with ecosystem services (EU); add reference to sustainable use of marine biodiversity (China); and delete reference to marine scientific research (US). The US said language on conservation of marine biodiversity as a prerequisite for safeguarding benefits was too strong, and delegates subsequently agreed on language stating that conservation is a key requirement rather than prerequisite.
Much of the debate revolved around whether to refer to products derived from research, and to reference commercial benefits. Brazil suggested replacing benefits with products, and opposed reference to commercial applications. Iceland proposed deleting all examples, both commercial and environmental, and referring to products and benefits more generally. Two options emerged from this debate: one, referring to products and benefits, and a range of applications, without spelling out examples; and another, specifying only benefits with no reference to applications. Following more discussion on this paragraph, delegates agreed to only refer to potential benefits of research, and delete reference to commercial applications, on the condition that this issue be reflected elsewhere in the text.
The text recognizes the current and potential benefits of research on MGRs for understanding ecosystem services, environmental change and oceans processes, and notes that the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity and its components are a key requirement for safeguarding such benefits.
Commercial development of MGRs: This paragraph recognizes the range of sectors that seek to explore the potential of MGRs, and notes that commercial development may involve risk.
The G-77/China, opposed by Norway and the EU, also suggested deleting language concerning the lengthy process and risk involved in MGR commercialization. After debating the necessity of referring to the risk of MGR commercialization, as well as the cause of this risk, which Guatemala suggested is “due to financial and technological challenges,” Brazil proposed, and delegates agreed, to language stating that commercial development may involve risk.
The text recognizes the value of goods and services from MGRs and the range of sectors, including food, health, industry and environmental remediation, that seek to explore the potential of MGRs, and notes that the commercial development of MGRs can often be a lengthy process that may involve risk, uncertainty and significant capital investment, and further notes that the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity and its components are a key requirement for safeguarding such goods..
Intellectual property regimes: This paragraph notes several aspects of intellectual property regimes relating to MGRs. Australia proposed removing reference to aspects such as disclosure of the source of origin of MGRs, links to traditional knowledge, and implications for access and benefit-sharing. Supporting Australia, the US noted that the ICP is not the appropriate forum for discussing intellectual property regimes. Brazil, with the G-77/China, suggested language stating that intellectual property regimes and MGRs need to be “considered and regulated” rather than “understood.”
Norway opposed deleting the list of aspects, and supported Brazil’s proposed text. Australia suggested replacing the specific aspects with language that notes ongoing discussions and expertise in relevant international organizations including WIPO and the World Trade Organization. The G-77/China rejected the Australian proposal. No consensus was reached on this paragraph.
Capacity building: This paragraph notes the importance of strengthening capacity building for marine scientific research. Colombia and South Africa, with Brazil and Canada, proposed language on strengthening capacity building in a “sustainable and comprehensive way,” while the US proposed language stating that this be done “when possible.”
The text encourages states and international organizations to strengthen capacity-building activities, in particular in developing countries, in the field of marine scientific research, by training personnel, investing in facilities, providing research platforms and transferring environmentally-sound technologies.
Taxonomy: This paragraph discusses the role of taxonomy for the classification of marine organisms in research. Indonesia suggested, and delegates agreed, to promoting training in taxonomy, particularly in developing countries.
The text recognizes the fundamental role of taxonomy for the classification of marine organisms in research, data integration and conservation, and invites states and relevant organizations to promote training and careers in taxonomy in order to address the shortage of taxonomic expertise, particularly in developing countries.
Encouraging research related to MGRs: On this paragraph, delegates agreed that reference to relevant international institutions would implicitly include regional organizations.
The text invites states, relevant international organizations and stakeholders to promote further scientific cooperation and multidisciplinary research efforts, partnerships, and public and private joint ventures in order to encourage research related to MGRs.
Technological and financial challenges and international collaborative opportunities:: This paragraph addresses challenges in the exploration and study of deep water ecosystems, and encourages engagement in international collaborative opportunities. Brazil added language reflecting that challenges exist in marine scientific research. Delegates agreed to use the term “assistance” instead of “incentives” in the context of international collaboration.
The text notes the technological and financial challenges in marine scientific research, and in the exploration and study of deep water ecosystems. It also encourages states and scientific institutions to engage in further international collaborative opportunities and assistance for this work in accordance with international law.
Access, research and use of MGRs beyond national jurisdiction: After delegates began to negotiate language on this topic, the G-77/China noted this paragraph was linked to the issue of the legal regime for MGRs beyond national jurisdiction. Discussions were then redirected back to debate on the UNCLOS legal framework, which was not resolved.
Other elements: Other elements in the Co-Chairs’ draft text that were not discussed in plenary included recommendations to:
At 11:00 pm, plenary resumed, and following a final attempt to reach consensus, the negotiations remained deadlocked.Co-Chairs Ridgeway and Maquieira stated that no consensus text of elements could be forwarded to the General Assembly for consideration. However, the Co-Chairs announced that they would include the draft elements and recommendations within the Co-Chairs’ Report of ICP-8, including a summary of the divergence of views, to the General Assembly.
The final report of the meeting will include: the Co-Chairs’ elements to be submitted to the UN General Assembly; a Co-Chairs’ summary of discussions; and additions and amendments to issues that could benefit from attention in future work of the General Assembly..
In closing, Co-Chair Ridgeway emphasized that the week had been informative, much had been learned, including on the parameters of forthcoming debates. Co-Chair Maquieira stressed that lessons must be learned from the “honest difference of opinion” that halted ICP’s work. Noting that this was his last ICP as Co-Chair, he thanked participants and closed the meeting at 11:36 pm.
This final report will be available online, during the coming weeks on the UN-DOALOS website at: http://www.un.org/Depts/los
A BRIEF ANALYSIS OF ICP-8
At the eighth meeting of the of the United Nations Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea (Consultative Process or ICP-8), four days of informative and constructive panel discussions on marine genetic resources (MGRs) set the stage for Friday’s negotiations on its recommendations to the UN General Assembly. Scientists discussed a myriad of activities relating to MGRs, including their vulnerability and services they provide, their collection and commercialization, and experiences with international cooperation and coordination at the global and regional levels. Despite the instructive and neutral atmosphere of the panel discussions and plenary meetings, the academic atmosphere dissipated as Friday’s negotiations ground to an unceremonious halt when the matter of the legal regime for MGRs came to a head.
Despite the fact that deadlock prevented a consensus document from being agreed, Co-Chairs Cristián Maquieira and Lori Ridgeway and participants alike were keen not to characterize the meeting as a failure. Many pointed to the productive panel sessions, which raised delegates’ awareness of the complexity and scope of the MGR issue. Many also regarded the legal debate as inevitable, and were refreshed that positions were now clearly out in the open, as a first step on the path to resolution.
This analysis will review the key revelations from the panel discussions, and will also assess the divergence of views over the legal regime for MGRs in areas beyond national jurisdiction. In conclusion, it will reflect on some of the reasons that ICP-8 did not reach a consensus outcome, unlike previous, equally-divided ICP meetings.
During the week, ICP-8 delegates took in much new information on MGRs from panelists including scientists, legal experts and representatives of other multilateral environmental agreements. At least three “revelations” from the panel discussions had immediate effect on many delegates’ thinking. The first was the demonstration of the conceptual difference between genetic information and biodiversity itself. The legal differences can be significant. As one delegate pointed out, a country can own an individual fish, but whether anyone can own the genetic information of the fish species, particularly if the species is not endemic, is a different matter.
A second revelation was the varying characteristics, and accompanying conservation challenges, of organisms with potentially useful genetic information. Some microorganism systems are massively abundant and dynamic, while species such as commercially interesting “extremophiles” like those living beside deep-sea hydrothermal vents can be extremely rare. Other chemical compounds are only produced by a creature when a certain combination of diet, parasites and competitors is also present, making it very difficult to reproduce these chemicals in the laboratory.
Thirdly, biotechnology experts also tried to pour cold seawater on expectations of those who see a pot of genetic gold in every new marine organism. Panelists warned that developing commercial products from MGRs takes at least fifteen years of investment, and that few samples ever lead to a marketed product. Developed countries repeated this point, urging developing countries to focus on the “non-profit” benefits of research – jobs, capacity building and better science. But developing countries observed that products and profits are being made from MGRs at least occasionally, and that they also have a right to share these benefits. Developing countries’ perception that they could be “missing out again” was a major factor in their insistence throughout the week on discussion of the legal regime, including access and benefit-sharing for MGRs beyond national limits.
A MATTER OF LAW
UNCLOS establishes distinct regimes in the two maritime areas beyond the limits of national jurisdiction, the high seas (water column) and the Area (seabed and subsoil). However, Part XI (the Area) of the Convention does not mention the living marine resources of the seabed, which were undiscovered when the Convention was negotiated.
At ICP-8, the G-77/China argued that MGRs should be regarded as the “common heritage of mankind,” like the mineral resources of the Area. These countries see potentially lucrative spin-offs from MGRs in the Area and would like to see a benefit-sharing agreement put in place. They note that while the Convention is mute on the status of the living resources of the Area, General Assembly Resolution 27/49 of 1970, which predates the adoption of UNCLOS in 1982, declares “all resources” of the Area to be the common heritage of mankind, and assert that this should include living resources such as MGRs.
However, throughout the week’s discussions and negotiations, developed countries, chiefly the US, the Russian Federation, Australia, Iceland and Norway, strongly resisted the application of the common heritage principle extending beyond mineral resources to which it currently applies. Instead they assert that the high seas regime for living resources (UNCLOS Part VII) also applies to living resources in the Area. These countries are also mindful of the fact that the Convention is a carefully-balanced “package deal” of rights and obligations, and are wary of destabilizing UNCLOS by countenancing the possibility that its precepts are in dispute or flawed. Furthermore, while some may consider that the Convention is short on specific detail on marine environmental protection beyond national jurisdiction, developed countries do not regard that activities currently underway in the Area are of dubious legality simply because developing countries understandably wish to get involved as well.
In the end, delegates could not even agree to disagree. Some developed country delegates were doggedly unable to accept a recommendation to the General Assembly referring to a dispute over UNCLOS, and developing countries were steadfast in their unwillingness to accept a “business as usual” text that implied no divergence of views.
DOWN THE VENT?
Long, tough Friday negotiating sessions have been a feature of past ICP meetings. Regular attendees are also accustomed to seeing contentious elements deleted from the draft consensus text at the last moment or accepted after much watering down, while the elements that cannot be agreed upon are reflected in the non-negotiated Co-Chairs’ report to retain the essence of the debate. However this ICP meeting was the first with no negotiated outcome at all.
The long argument over how – and if – to mention the divergence of views over the legal status of MGRs in areas beyond national jurisdiction was in one sense irrelevant – as one delegate stated, “we know the problem is there, whether we write it down or not.” Certainly ICP-8 did not attempt to resolve the impasse in substance, which delegates from both sides recognized to be well beyond the scope and will of the meeting. The chief importance of the debate may turn out to be the G-77/China’s actions in putting down a marker that this issue will be argued persistently wherever it arises.
Parallels can be drawn with the original negotiations of the Convention. There, developing countries eventually succeeded in convincing the developed world of their serious intent to share the potential windfall from mining activities in the Area, and secured common-heritage status for those mineral resources as part of the giant package deal that makes up UNCLOS.
But there are significant differences between those negotiations and the state of the world today. For starters, in the 1970s deep seabed mining beyond the continental shelf was a vision of the future, whereas research into MGRs beyond national jurisdiction is occurring today, adding urgency to the debate for the G-77/China. Most observers consider that maintaining the status quo on MGRs in the Area suits developed countries, who have a technological and capacity advantage, whereas a generation ago those countries had other interests to secure, such as navigation rights, which made the tradeoffs more palatable.
Perhaps with this in mind, the EU, which is looking for support for their proposed implementation agreement under UNCLOS to protect marine biodiversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction, hinted at possibly accommodating G-77/China views on MGRs as part of such an agreement.
In spite of the contentious negotiations there was no bitterness in the corridors as the meeting concluded on Friday night. Co-Chair Maquieira summarized the outcome as “the result of an honest difference of opinion.” Some delegates had their own additional explanations for why the deadlock became so entrenched. A few suggested that the G-77/China were simply dissatisfied at a meeting they perceived as giving unequal attention to their concerns, especially in the aftermath of a divisive Meeting of States Parties to UNCLOS the week before, where a joint Asian-African proposal relating to the allocation of seats in the Commission and the Tribunal failed to achieve consensus. Others asserted obstruction by developed countries who are satisfied with the status quo. Many also noted that meetings elsewhere on genetic resources and access and benefit-sharing are famously tough, and no less should have been expected at ICP-8..
This issue would have stayed alive even without the Co-Chairs retaining the draft elements and a summary of the divergence of views within their report of ICP-8 to the General Assembly. It will likely arise repeatedly during the next twelve months: especially at the debates preceding the adoption of UN General Assembly resolutions at the end of the year; and at the 2008 meeting of the Ad Hoc Informal Working Group on marine biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction. The discussions are not likely to get easier. However, as the Co-Chairs emphasized when closing ICP-8, there will always be disputes about interpretation, but the international community must find a way to move forward nonetheless.
EUROPEAN SYMPOSIUM ON MARINE PROTECTED AREAS AS A TOOL FOR FISHERIES MANAGEMENT AND ECOSYSTEM CONSERVATION: This meeting will be held from 25-28 September 2007, in Murcia, Spain, and is being organized by the EU-funded research projects EMPAFISH and PROTECT. The symposium aims to bring together scientists, managers and stakeholders to discuss new scientific findings and experiences on the use of a broad range of different types of MPAs. For more information, contact: Symposium Secretariat; e-mail: [email protected]; internet: http://www.MPAsymposium2007.eu
EXPERT WORKSHOP ON ECOLOGICAL CRITERIA AND BIOGEOGRAPHIC CLASSIFICATION SYSTEMS FOR MARINE AREAS IN NEED OF PROTECTION: This meeting is being organized by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Secretariat and will be held from 2-4 October 2007, in Azores, Portugal. This workshop will aim to, among other things, refine and develop a consolidated set of scientific criteria for identifying ecologically or biologically significant marine areas in need of protection, and compile a consolidated set of scientific criteria for representative networks of marine protected areas. For more information, contact: CBD Secretariat; tel: +1-514-288-2220; fax: +1-514-288-6588; e-mail: [email protected]; internet: http://www.cbd.int/meetings/default.shtml
ABS-5: The fifth meeting of the CBD Ad Hoc Open-Ended Working Group on Access and Benefit-Sharing will take place from 8-12 October 2007, in Montreal, Canada. For more information, contact: CBD Secretariat; tel: +1-514-288-2220; fax: +1-514-288-6588; e-mail: [email protected]; internet: http://www.cbd.int/doc/meeting.aspx?mtg=ABSWG-05
FOURTH ANNUAL SOUTH EAST ATLANTIC FISHERIES ORGANIZATION (SEAFO) MEETING: This meeting will take place from 8-12 October 2007, in Windhoek, Namibia. For more information, contact: SEAFO Secretariat; tel: +264-64-220387; fax: +264-64-220389; e-mail: [email protected]; internet: http://www.seafo.org
14TH ANNUAL MEETING OF THE COMMISSION FOR THE CONSERVATION OF SOUTHERN BLUEFIN TUNA (CCSBT): This meeting will be held from 16-19 October 2007, in Canberra, Australia. For more information, contact Executive Secretary Neil Hermes; tel: +61-2-6282-8396; fax: +61-2-6282-8407; e-mail: [email protected]; internet: http://www.ccsbt.org/
SECOND SESSION OF THE ITPGR GOVERNING BODY: Organized by the FAO, the second session of the Governing Body of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture will be held from 28 October - 2 November 2007, in Rome, Italy. For more information, contact: Shakeel Bhatti, ITPGR Secretary; tel: +39-06-570-53441; fax: +39-06-570-53057; e-mail: [email protected]; internet: http://www.fao.org/ag/cgrfa/itpgr.htm
PACEM IN MARIBUS XXXII: This conference, to be held from 5-8 November 2007, in Birkirkara, Malta, will be hosted by the International Ocean Institute. PIM XXXII will be organized around three themes: the State of the Ocean – current challenges and future prospects; involvement of women and youth within the Millennium Development Goals’ strategies; and new solidarities for sustainable ocean governance. For more information, contact Conference Secretariat: tel/fax: +356-2144-0972; e-mail: [email protected]; internet: http://www.capemalta.net/pim2007/
20TH MEETING OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMISSION FOR THE CONSERVATION OF ATLANTIC TUNAS (ICCAT): This meeting will take place from 12-18 November 2007, in Istanbul, Turkey. For more information, contact ICCAT Secretariat; tel: +34-91-416-5600; fax: +34-91-415-2612; e-mail: [email protected]; internet: http://www.iccat.es/
EIGHTH ASIAN FISHERIES FORUM:: This meeting will take place from 20-23 November 2007, in Kochi, India. The Eighth Asian Fisheries Forum will address the theme “Fisheries and Aquaculture: Strategic Outlook for Asia,” and will convene several simultaneous technical sessions, a poster session, two symposia, a trade exhibition and post-forum tours. For more information, contact Forum Secretariat: tel: +91-484-239-4798; fax: +91-484-239-4909; e-mail: [email protected]; internet: http://www.8aff2007.org
FOURTH REGULAR SESSION OF THE WESTERN AND CENTRAL PACIFIC FISHERIES COMMISSION (WCPFC): This conference will be held from 3-7 December 2007, in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia. For more information, contact: WCPFC Secretariat; tel: +691-320-1992 or 320-1993; fax: +691-320-1108; e-mail: [email protected]; internet: http://www.wcpfc.int/
MEETING TO IDENTIFY AND ELABORATE AN OPTION FOR INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION ON MIGRATORY SHARKS: This meeting will take place from 11-13 December 2007, in Mahé, Seychelles. Organized under the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), this meeting will consider the conservation status of migratory sharks and possible options for international cooperation. For more information, contact: CMS Secretariat; tel: +49-228-815-2401; fax: +49-228-815-2449; e-mail: [email protected]; internet: http://www.cms.int/
ABS-6: The sixth meeting of the CBD Ad Hoc Open-Ended Working Group on Access and Benefit-Sharing will take place from 21-25 January 2008, in Geneva, Switzerland. For more information, contact: CBD Secretariat; tel: +1-514-288-2220; fax: +1-514-288-6588; e-mail: [email protected]; internet: http://www.cbd.int/doc/meeting.aspx?mtg=ABSWG-06
SECOND MEETING OF THE CBD AD HOC OPEN-ENDED WORKING GROUP ON PROTECTED AREAS: This meeting under the Convention on Biological Diversity is expected to take place at FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy, from 11-15 February 2008. For more information, contact: CBD Secretariat; tel: +1-514-288-2220; fax: +1-514-288-6588; e-mail: [email protected]; internet: http://www.cbd.int/meetings/default.shtml
SBSTTA-13: The thirteenth meeting of the CBD’s Subsidiary Body for Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice will meet in Rome, Italy, from 18-22 February 2008. One of the issues on the agenda is the management of high seas biodiversity. For more information, contact: CBD Secretariat; tel: +1-514-288-2220; fax: +1-514-288-6588; e-mail: [email protected]; internet: http://www.cbd.int/meetings/default.shtml
AD HOCC OPEN-ENDED INFORMAL WORKING GROUP ON MARINE BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY BEYOND AREAS OF NATIONAL JURISDICTION: The next meeting of the Working Group is expected to take place in the first half of 2008, as per UN General Assembly resolution 61/222. For more information, contact: UN-DOALOS Secretariat; tel: +1-212-963-3962; fax: +1-212-963-2811; e-mail: [email protected]; internet: http://www.un.org/Depts/los/biodiversityworkinggroup/biodiversityworkinggroup.htm
FOURTH GLOBAL CONFERENCE ON OCEANS, COASTS AND ISLANDS: This conference will be held from 7-11 April 2008, in Hanoi, Viet Nam, with the theme of advancing integrated coastal and ocean management by 2010 in the context of climate change. Organized by the Global Forum on Oceans, Coasts and Islands, this conference will focus on: achieving ecosystem management and integrated coastal and ocean management by 2010; climate, oceans and security; and addressing the governance of marine ecosystems and uses in areas beyond national jurisdiction. For more information, contact: Shelby Hockenberry, University of Delaware; tel: +1-302-831-8086; fax: +1-302-831-3668; e-mail: [email protected]; internet: http://www.globaloceans.org/globalconferences/2008
EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON THE WORLD’S OCEANS: This symposium will be held from 19-23 May 2008, in Gijón, Spain, and is being organized by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), the North Pacific Marine Science Organization (PICES) and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (UNESCO/IOC). The Symposium will focus on the major climate change-related issues affecting oceans including oceanic circulation, climate modeling, carbon cycling, changes in species distributions and migratory routes, sea-level rise, and coastal erosion. For more information, contact: North Pacific Marine Science Organization (PICES) Secretariat; tel: +1-250-363-6366; fax: +1-250-363-6827; e-mail: [email protected]; internet: http://www.pices.int/meetings/international_symposia/2008_symposia/Climate_change/climate_background_3.aspx
CBD COP9: The ninth Conference of the Parties to the CBD will take place in Bonn, Germany, from 19-30 May 2008. For more information, contact: CBD Secretariat; tel: +1-514-288-2220; fax: +1-514-288-6588; e-mail: [email protected]; internet: http://www.cbd.int/
UNICPOLOS-9: The ninth meeting of the UN Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea is expected to take place in May or June 2008, at UN headquarters in New York. For more information, contact: UN-DOALOS; tel: +1-212-963-3962; fax: +1-212-963-2811; e-mail: [email protected]; internet: http://www.un.org/Depts/los/