From 25th March to the 05th April, the second Intergovernmental Conference (IGC2) on marine biodiversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ) took place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. This was the second of four planned meetings to discuss development of a new, international legally binding instrument under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction.

Negotiations address a ‘package’ of four key elements plus cross-cutting issues:

  1. Marine genetic resources, including questions on the sharing of benefits
  2. Measures such as area based management tools, including marine protected areas
  3. Environmental impact assessments
  4. Capacity-building and the transfer of marine technology

Jane Collins (ABS-int, KU Leuven) was fortunate enough to attend the BBNJ conference as part of the Deep Ocean Stewardship Initiative (DOSI) delegation. DOSI published and distributed two new policy briefs in advance of these important meetings:

  1. a) “Access and sharing benefits from marine genetic resources from ABNJ: building on best practices in the scientific community
  2. b) “The Full Value of Marine Genetic Resources

Over the ten days, delegates at the conference discussed all four package elements. Many options appeared not to be mutually exclusive and it was suggested that some could be merged. Discussions helped to identify areas of convergence, as well as divergence, and will be useful when constructing the zero-draft treaty text in preparation for IGC3 (to take place in August 2019).

For further information, please contact Jane via email ( or check out the links below.

The UN BBNJ Conference:

The UN live-stream:

The Deep Ocean Stewardship Initiative: