Seminar Oceans Governance at the United Nations

On 19 May 2017 Oran R. Young, distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara, gave the seminar To BBNJ or Not to BBNJ? Perspectives from the Earth System Governance Community at Utrecht University.

The seminar was hosted by the Netherlands Institute for the Law of the Sea and the Utrecht Centre for Water, Oceans and Sustainability Law of the Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance of Utrecht University and was sponsored by the University’s Strategic Theme Institutions for Open Societies.

A major development in ocean governance involves the effort to devise a legally binding Implementing Agreement to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea on Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ). This ambitious initiative encompasses a linked set of provisions relating to marine genetic resources, area based management tools, environmental impact assessment, and technology transfer/capacity development. The UN General Assembly has formed a PrepCom to make a recommendation regarding whether to proceed with the launching of an Intergovernmental Conference on this initiative.

The seminar touched on the following issues:

  1. ways to think about needs for governance relating to BBNJ;
  2. the politics of institutional design;
  3. issues of interplay with other regimes;
  4. implementation or moving a BBNJ regime from paper to practice.