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Agreement on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction

The Agreement on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction was adopted on 19 June 2023 in New York. It aims to ensure the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction, for the present and in the long term, through effective implementation of the relevant provisions of the Convention and further international cooperation and coordination.

Countries

Highlights

Active transparency / Clearing-House Mechanism (article 51)

The Clearing-House Mechanism shall consist primarily of an open-access platform.

The Clearing-House Mechanism shall serve as a centralized platform to enable Parties to access, provide and disseminate information with respect to activities taking place pursuant to the provisions of this Agreement, including information relating to: (i) Marine genetic resources of areas beyond national jurisdiction, as set out in Part II of this Agreement; (ii) The establishment and implementation of area-based management tools, including marine protected areas; (iii) Environmental impact assessments; (iv) Requests for capacity-building and the transfer of marine technology and opportunities with respect thereto, including research collaboration and training opportunities, information on sources and availability of technological information and data for the transfer of marine technology, opportunities for facilitated access to marine technology and the availability of funding. 

It shall facilitate the matching of capacity-building needs with the support available and with providers for the transfer of marine technology, including governmental, non-governmental or private entities interested in participating as donors in the transfer of marine technology, and facilitate access to related know-how and expertise.

It shall also provide links to relevant global, regional, subregional, national and sectoral clearing-house mechanisms and other gene banks, repositories and databases, including those pertaining to relevant traditional knowledge of Indigenous Peoples and local communities, and promote, where possible, links with publicly available private and non-governmental platforms for the exchange of information.

The clearing-house will build on global, regional and subregional clearing-house institutions, where applicable, when establishing regional and subregional mechanisms under the global mechanism and foster enhanced transparency, including by facilitating the sharing of environmental baseline data and information relating to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction between Parties and other relevant stakeholders.

Rights:
Access to information on activities with respect to marine genetic resources and digital sequence information (articles 9 and 14)

The fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from activities with respect to marine genetic resources and digital sequence information on marine genetic resources of areas beyond national jurisdiction for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction and the generation of knowledge, scientific understanding and technological innovation, including through the development and conduct of marine scientific research, as fundamental contributions to the implementation of this Agreement are established as objectives of this part of the Agreement. 

Non-monetary benefits shall be shared in accordance with this Agreement in the form of, inter alia, access to digital sequence information in accordance with current international practice; open access to findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable (FAIR) scientific data in accordance with current international practice and open and responsible data governance; and information contained in the notifications, along with “BBNJ” standardized batch identifiers, provided in accordance with article 12, in publicly searchable and accessible forms.

Las Partes adoptarán las medidas legislativas, administrativas o de política necesarias para asegurarse de que los recursos genéticos marinos y la información digital sobre secuencias de recursos genéticos marinos de las zonas situadas fuera de la jurisdicción nacional que sean objeto de utilización por personas naturales o jurídicas bajo su jurisdicción, así como sus identificadores estandarizados de lote “BBNJ”, se depositen en repositorios y bases de datos de acceso público, de carácter nacional o internacional, en un plazo máximo de tres años desde el inicio de esa utilización, o tan pronto como estén disponibles, teniendo en cuenta la práctica internacional actual.

Rights:
Access to information and public participation on area-based management tools, including marine protected areas (articles 19, 20, 21 and 26) / Indigenous peoples

Parties shall collaborate and consult, as appropriate, with relevant stakeholders, including States and global, regional, subregional and sectoral bodies, as well as civil society, the scientific community, the private sector, Indigenous Peoples and local communities, for the development of proposals, as set out in this Part.

Proposals shall be formulated on the basis of the best available science and scientific information and, where available, relevant traditional knowledge of Indigenous Peoples and local communities, taking into account the precautio nary approach and an ecosystem approach.

Upon receipt of a proposal in writing, the secretariat shall make the proposal publicly available and transmit it to the Scientific and Technical Body for a preliminary review. The secretariat shall notify the Parties and make that retransmitted proposal publicly available and facilitate consultations.

Consultations on proposals submitted under article 19 shall be inclusive, transparent and open to all relevant stakeholders, including States and global, regional, subregional and sectoral bodies, as well as civil society, the scientific community, Indigenous Peoples and local communities. Indigenous Peoples and local communities with relevant traditional knowledge, the scientific community, civil society and other relevant stakeholders shall be invited to submit, inter alia: (i) Views on the merits of the proposal; (ii) Any other relevant scientific input; (iii) Any relevant traditional knowledge of Indigenous Peoples and local communities; (iv) Any other relevant information. Contributions received shall be made publicly available by the secretariat.

Parties shall, individually or collectively, report to the Conference of the Parties on the implementation of area-based management tools, including marine protected areas, established under this Part and related measures. Such reports, as well as the information and the review shall be made publicly available by the secretariat.

Access to information, public participation and review of environmental impact assessments (articles 28-29 and 32-37)

A Party conducting such an assessment under its national process shall: (a) Make relevant information available through the Clearing-House Mechanism, in a timely manner, during the national process; (b) Ensure that the activity is monitored in a manner consistent with the requirements of its national process; (c) Ensure that environmental impact assessment reports and any relevant monitoring reports are made available through the Clearing-House Mechanism as set out in this Agreement.

When an environmental impact assessment for a planned activity in areas beyond national jurisdiction has been conducted under a relevant legal instrument or framework or a relevant global, regional, subregional or sectoral body, the Party concerned shall ensure that the environmental impact assessment report is published through the Clearing-House Mechanism.

Parties shall ensure timely public notification of a planned activity, including by publication through the Clearing-House Mechanism and through the secretariat, and planned and effective time-bound opportunities, as far as practicable, for participation by all States, in particular adjacent coastal States and any other States adjacent to the activity when they are potentially most affected States, and stakeholders in the environmental impact assessment process. Notification and opportunities for participation, including through the submission of comments, shall take place throughout the environmental impact assessment process, as appropriate, including when identifying the scope of an environmental impact assessment under article 31, paragraph 1 (b), and when a draft environmental impact assessment report has been prepared under article 33, before a decision is made as to whether to authorize the activity.

Stakeholders in this process include Indigenous Peoples and local communities with relevant traditional knowledge, relevant global, regional, subregional and sectoral bodies, civil society, the scientific community and the public. Public notification and consultation shall be inclusive and transparent, be conducted in a timely manner and be targeted and proactive when involving small island developing States. Substantive comments received during the consultation process, including from adjacent coastal States and any other States adjacent to the planned activity when they are potentially most affected States, shall be considered and responded to or addressed by Parties. Parties shall give particular regard to comments concerning potential impacts in areas within national jurisdiction and provide written responses, as appropriate, specifically addressing such comments, including regarding any additional measures meant to address those potential impacts. Parties shall make public the comments received and the responses or descriptions of the manner in which they were addressed.

Parties shall publish the reports of the environmental impact assessments, including through the Clearing-House Mechanism. 

Monitoring reports shall be made public, including through the Clearing-House Mechanism. Should the Party with jurisdiction or control over the activity identify significant adverse impacts that either were not foreseen in the environmental impact assessment, in nature or severity, or that arise from a breach of any of the conditions set out in the approval of the activity, the Party shall review its decision authorizing the activity, notify the Conference of the Parties, other Parties and the public, including through the Clearing-House Mechanism.

All States, in particular adjacent coastal States and any other States adjacent to the activity when they are potentially most affected States, and stakeholders shall be kept informed through the Clearing-House Mechanism and may be consulted in the monitoring, reporting and review processes in respect of an activity authorized under this Agreement.

Parties shall publish, including through the Clearing-House Mechanism: (a) Reports on the review of the impacts of the authorized activity; (b) Decision documents, including a record of the reasons for the decision b y the Party, when a Party has changed its decision authorizing the activity.

Capacity-building and the transfer of marine technology (articles 40, 41 and 44) / Gender / Indigenous Peoples

This Part has as its objective, inter alia, to increase, disseminate and share knowledge on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction.

In providing capacity-building and the transfer of marine technology under this Agreement, Parties shall cooperate at all levels and in all forms, including through partnerships with and involving all relevant stakeholders, such as, where appropriate, the private sector, civil society, and Indigenous Peoples and local communities as holders of traditional knowledge, as well as through strengthening cooperation and coordination between relevant legal instruments and frameworks and relevant global, regional, subregional and sectoral bodies.

Capacity-building and the transfer of marine technology should be a country-driven, transparent, effective and iterative process that is participatory, cross-cutting and gender-responsive. 

Types of capacity-building and of the transfer of marine technology include, inter alia, the sharing and use of relevant data, information, knowledge and research results and information dissemination and awareness-raising, including with respect to relevant traditional knowledge of Indigenous Peoples and local communities, in line with the free, prior and informed consent of these Indigenous Peoples and, as appropriate, local communities.

Transparency in the functioning of the Conference of the Parties (article 48)

The Conference of the Parties shall promote transparency in decision-making processes and other activities carried out under this Agreement.

All meetings of the Conference of the Parties and its subsidiary bodies shall be open to observers participating in accordance with the rules of procedure unless otherwise decided by the Conference of the Parties. The Conference of the Parties shall publish and maintain a public record of its decisions. 

The Conference of the Parties shall promote transparency in the implementation of this Agreement, including through the public dissemination of information and the facilitation of the participation of, and consultation with, relevant global, regional, subregional and sectoral bodies, Indigenous Peoples and local communities with relevant traditional knowledge, the scientific community, civil society and other relevant stakeholders, as appropriate and in accordance with the provisions of this Agreement.

Representatives of States not party to this Agreement, relevant global, regional, subregional and sectoral bodies, Indigenous Peoples and local communities with relevant traditional knowledge, the scientific community, civil society and other relevant stakeholders with an interest in matters pertaining to the Conference of the Parties may request to participate as observers in the meetings of the Conference of the Parties and of its subsidiary bodies. The rules of procedure of the Conference of the Parties shall provide for modalities for such participation and shall not be unduly restrictive in this respect. The rules of procedure shall also provide for such representatives to have timely access to all relevant information.

Indigenous peoples (preamble, articles 7 and 13)

In order to achieve the objectives of this Agreement, Parties shall be guided by the following principles and approaches: The respect, promotion and consideration of their respective obligations, as applicable, relating to the rights of Indigenous Peoples or of, as appropriate, local communities when taking action to address the conservation and susta inable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction.

Parties shall take legislative, administrative or policy measures, where relevant and as appropriate, with the aim of ensuring that traditional knowledge assoc iated with marine genetic resources in areas beyond national jurisdiction that is held by Indigenous Peoples and local communities shall only be accessed with the free, prior and informed consent or approval and involvement of these Indigenous Peoples and local communities. Access to such traditional knowledge may be facilitated by the Clearing-House Mechanism. Access to and use of such traditional knowledge shall be on mutually agreed terms