CMS has become a member of UN-Oceans as key meetings around High Seas start at UN Headquarters in New York this week.
The new membership became official just before the start of the First Session of the Intergovernmental Conference on an International Legally Binding Instrument under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Biodiversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ).
The BBNJ negotiations are taking place in New York from 4 to 17 September 2018 and aim to create an international legally binding instrument to promote the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity found in areas beyond national jurisdiction.
UN-Oceans seeks to further strengthen the coordination and cooperation among UN agencies that deal with activities relating to the ocean and coastal areas. As a member, CMS will be able to share planned activities and experiences (including best practices and lessons learned), identify possible areas for collaboration and synergy in ocean-related matters within the UN System.
“It is a fitting time for CMS to join UN-Oceans, as major decisions regarding the conservation of marine life in the high seas are being made at the BBNJ meeting currently underway in New York. Both the new CMS membership in UN Oceans and our active participation in the BBNJ process aim to ensure that the needs of migratory animals are being taken into account in important global decisions relating to the protection of our oceans,” says Bradnee Chambers, Executive Secretary of CMS.
Many of the marine species covered by CMS depend upon habitats found in the High Seas. The animals’ wide ranges not only mean they rely on multiple habitats under a variety of management schemes, but they are also exposed to numerous threats.
Once negotiated, the resulting instrument will fall under the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. The four main areas of discussion are: marine genetic resources; measures such as area-based management tools which include marine protected areas (MPAs); environmental impact assessments (EIAs); and capacity-building and the transfer of marine technology.
Two of the main topics being discussed at the BBNJ meeting provide strategic instruments for evaluation and further protection of migratory species. Area-based management tools, if they are designed to consider the connectivity of ecosystems and the changeability of the ocean environment, can be an effective way to maintain the quality, integrity, resilience and functioning of important habitats. Secondly, Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) and Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEAs) that take into account migratory animals, are important tools for evaluating potential impacts of human activities in marine areas within and beyond the limits of national jurisdiction. The EIAs and SEAs also help integrate biodiversity considerations into decision-making processes.