A negotiation process is going on the UN towards a new treaty aimed to protect marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ). The treaty will have implications for the Arctic Ocean (AO) of which the central part is beyond national jurisdiction. The main objective of the project is to improve the understanding of the risks and opportunities for ecosystem-based marine biodiversity governance in the Arctic Ocean in light of the negotiation process.

Goals of the project:

1. To map the uncertainties and knowledge gaps related to the governance of the remote, rapidly changing large marine ecosystems of the AO in order to inform policy choices .

2. To explore the complexities involved in implementing ecosystem based management considering that the large marine ecosystems of the AO includes both areas beyond national jurisdiction and the exclusive economic zones of several Arctic coastal States.

3. To evaluate the implications of the potential spatial fragmentation of conservation measures, especially marine protected areas, by addressing relevant spatial ecological processes and anthropogenic pressures and all relevant legal challenges.

4. To evaluate the BBNJ process against the current AO governance regimes.

5. To gain better understanding of the tension between individual coastal AO states’ interests and the interests of protecting biodiversity in the AO as a global common (WP 2).

6. To understand and map the complexity of existing institutions, bodies and legal instruments potentially involved in the implementation of effective ecosystem approaches to AO governance, and discuss ways and means to reconcile and integrate regional and global approaches to AO biodiversity governance .

7. Based on the project objectives, to develop and discuss options for a future regime to govern the AO through conservation of biodiversity and the sustainable use of marine resources through an ecosystem based management framework..

8. To evaluate lessons learned from the project and suggest further research in this context (especially since the BBNJ process is likely to extend beyond the temporal scope of this project).

Project period: 2019-2022



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