A revised draft text of an 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 (the BBNJ Agreement) has been issued. This can be found via the following link: https://www.un.org/bbnj/sites/www.un.org.bbnj/files/igc_5_-_further_revised_draft_text_final.pdf
The draft BBNJ Agreement has been under negotiation in an Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) since 2018, preceded by more than a decade of preparatory work. With a pause in negotiations caused by the COVID pandemic, the final scheduled IGC4 was held at the UN in New York in March this year. Although some progress was made, and this reflected in the new text, there remain a number of contentious issues and the UN General Assembly agreed to an additional round of negotiations. These will be held between 15-26 August. The UK will continue to work hard to achieve an ambitious agreement to be concluded this year.
Part II of the text on Marine Genetic Resources (MGRs) will be of particular interest to the UK marine science community. In negotiations, the UK has taken a “share the science” approach with information being shared at various points on the research timeline. We have worked closely with UK experts in the National Oceanography Centre, Natural History Museum and more broadly to develop the UK position on the previous draft and are keen to do so again. The issue of monetary benefit sharing arising from the commercial utilisation of MGRs from Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ) remains a sticking point between developing and developed countries and the new text contains options to address this. Provisions on Capacity Building and the Transfer of Marine Technology, on the proposed Scientific and Technical Body and on Monitoring and Evaluation will also be of interest to the UK marine science community.
If you would like to provide comments for the UK team to consider, it would be helpful if you could do so by Friday 8 July to [email protected]. This gives us time to consider, come back to you with any follow up including discussions, and finalise the UK negotiation position.