I. Preambular elements

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From the report of the BBNJ Preparatory Committee established by General Assembly resolution 69/292, 31/07/17 :

The text would set out broad contextual issues, such as:

  • a description of the considerations that led to the development of the instrument, including key concerns and issues;
  • a recognition of the central role of the Convention and the role of other existing relevant legal instruments and frameworks and relevant global, regional and sectoral bodies for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction;
  • a recognition of the need to enhance cooperation and coordination for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction;
  • a recognition of the need for assistance so that developing countries, in particular geographically disadvantaged States, least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States, as well as coastal African States, can participate effectively in the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction;
  • a recognition of the need for the comprehensive global regime to better address the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction;
  • an expression of conviction that an agreement for the implementation of the relevant provisions of the Convention would best serve these purposes and contribute to the maintenance of international peace and security;
  • an affirmation that matters not regulated by the Convention, its Implementing Agreements or the instrument continue to be governed by the rules and principles of general international law.


From Chair’s streamlined non-paper on elements of a draft text of an international instrument on marine biodiversity in ABNJ at PrepCom 4 (10-21 July 2017):

1. Description of broader contextual issues, such as:

  • The importance of marine biodiversity for ocean health, productivity, and resilience, food security, ecosystem services and sustainable development for present and future generations.
  • The importance of both the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction.
  • The link between climate change and oceans.
  • The usefulness of environmental impact assessments (EIAs) for the prevention and identification of possible threats to the marine environment.
  • The importance of the utilization of area-based management tools (ABMTs), such as marine protected areas (MPAs), to effectively protect and preserve marine biodiversity.
  • The importance of capacity building and technology transfer for States, particularly for developing countries.

2. Description of the reasons for action, such as:

  • The need for a comprehensive global regime to better address the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction.
  • The need for close cooperation and coordination with the relevant existing bodies.
  • The desire for an effective regime for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction, including through a fair and equitable regime of access to and sharing of benefits of marine genetic resources.
  • The importance of legal certainty in the regime for access to marine genetic resources,and benefit sharing.

3. Recognition that the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) sets out the legal framework within which all activities in the oceans and seas must be carried out.

4. Reference to, and recognition of the work under, relevant international instruments, such as the United Nations Fish Stocks Agreement (UNFSA), and bodies, such as the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the International Seabed Authority (ISA), regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs), and regional seas organizations

5. Reaffirmation of the jurisdiction and sovereign rights of coastal States over their continental shelf, including beyond 200 nautical miles, where applicable

6. Some approaches and principles could also be set out in the preamble of the instrument, such as:

  • The instrument should not undermine existing relevant legal instruments and frameworks and relevant global, regional and sectoral bodies.
  • Common heritage of mankind.
  • Freedom of the high seas.
  • Special considerations for developing countries, particularly small island developing States (SIDS) and least developed countries (LDCs).
  • Importance of global and regional cooperation.
  • Fair and equitable participation of States in benefits derived from access to marine genetic resources.
  • Common concern of humankind.


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