Arctic High Seas Governance of Biodiversity

  • Torsten ThieleEmail author
Part of the WMU Studies in Maritime Affairs book series (WMUSTUD, volume 7)


On June 19, 2015, following a long period of preparation, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution A/69/L.65: 65 “Development 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 in areas beyond national jurisdiction”. A preparatory committee will develop draft recommendations in 2016 and 2017. The proposed new instrument will have important implications for the areas beyond national jurisdiction, including the Central Arctic Ocean and therefore for the Arctic governance regime overall. Key components of the “package” of measures discussed during the sessions of the Working Group were area-based management tools, including MPAs; marine genetic resources, including questions related to the sharing of benefits; environmental impact assessments and capacity-building and technology transfer. The potential implication of such a new legal instrument on areas beyond national jurisdiction in the Arctic will be manifold. They will affect shipping and other marine operations. Arctic nations have expressed initial views on the proposed measures but it will in the end be a decision of the international community as a whole to decide on the details of the new Implementing Agreement which will then provide a binding regime for all High Seas areas, including the Central Arctic Ocean.


Arctic governance High seas biodiversity agreement United Nations general assembly resolution Areas beyond national jurisdiction Law of the sea Central Arctic Ocean 



United Nations General Assembly



The author participated as an International Union for Conservation of Nature (hereinafter referred to as IUCN) observer in the final three sessions of the United Nations General Assembly (hereinafter referred to as UNGA) Ad hoc Informal Working Group on Biodiversity in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction and at the first Preparatory Committee session for the proposed new agreement.


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies e.V.PotsdamGermany

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