Talk:General principles and approaches of the instrument

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From Chair’s streamlined non-paper on elements of a draft text of the ILBI at PrepCom 4

A distinction could be drawn between principles and approaches.


Any definitions and/or interpretation of guiding approaches and principles would need to be consistent with those already agreed under UNCLOS, UNFSA, CBD and other relevant international instruments, such as the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development.

Possible principles and approaches could include:

• Recognition of need for a comprehensive global regime to better address the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction.

• Respect for the freedoms and the balance of rights, obligations and interests enshrined in UNCLOS.

• Incorporation of, and non-derogation from, the relevant principles enshrined in UNCLOS.

• Common heritage of mankind.

• Freedom of the high seas.

• Recognition of existing relevant legal instruments and frameworks and relevant global, regional and sectoral bodies (in particular UNCLOS, UNFSA, RFMO/As, IMO, ISA, and regional seas conventions).

• No undermining of existing relevant legal instruments and frameworks and relevant global, regional and sectoral bodies.

• Due regard for the rights of others.

• Respect for the rights of coastal States over all areas under their national jurisdiction, including their continental shelves beyond 200 nautical miles where applicable.

• Respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of coastal States.

• Compatibility.

• Adjacency and requirement to consult adjacent States.

• Recognition of the role of adjacent coastal States as well as other States.

• Enhanced cooperation and coordination between and among States and organizations to conserve and sustainably use marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction.

• Protection and preservation of the marine environment and its biodiversity, including for the benefit of future generations.

• Duty not to transform one type of pollution into another or not to transfer damage or hazards.

• Use of biodiversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction for peaceful purposes only.

• Integrated approach.

• Ecosystem approach.

• Science-based approach.

• Use of the best available scientific information.

• Public availability of information.

• Public participation.

• Stakeholder involvement.

• Good governance.

• Transparency.

• Incorporation of traditional and local knowledge.

• Accountability.

• Equity.

• Intra- and inter-generational equity.

• Capacity-building and technology transfer.

• Environmentally sound techniques and methods of operation in order to prevent or limit damage to biological diversity.

• Sustainable use of marine biodiversity.

• Precautionary principle/approach.

• Risk-based approach.

• Polluter-pays principle.

• Special interests, circumstances and needs of developing countries such as SIDS and LDCs.

• Avoidance of disproportionate burden.

• Adaptive management.

• Ability to address cumulative impacts.

• Traceability.

• Flexibility.

• Conservation of biodiversity as a common concern of humankind.


The impacts of climate change could be a consideration for decisions made and actions taken under the instrument and decisions should not exacerbate or hasten the adverse impacts of climate change, especially upon SIDS.

No action or activity taken on the basis of the instrument would be construed or considered to be prejudicial to the positions of States Parties to a land or maritime sovereignty dispute or to dispute concerning the delimitation of maritime areas.


Suggestions and views of States and Stakeholders regarding possible guiding principles and approaches in the draft text of the new international legally-binding agreement:

States have an understanding of drawing distinction between principles and approaches, respecting for the balance of rights, obligations and interests enshrined in UNCLOS. They agreed with respect for the law of the sea and no undermining of existing relevant legal instruments and frameworks and relevant global, regional and sectoral bodies. They express converging views on respect for the rights of coastal States over all areas under their national jurisdiction, including their continental shelves beyond 200 nautical miles where applicable; Respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of coastal States; Duty to cooperate; Use of biodiversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction for peaceful purposes only; Good governance; Public participation; Intra-and inter-generational equity; Capacity-building and technology transfer. Different ways of referring to approaches and principles were suggested by delegations: The EU, New Zealand and Norway suggested explicit reference to these approaches and principles in the preamble of the instrument, in a stand- alone article, or some approaches and principles may benefit from further elaboration in an article of their own, similar to Article 6 of UNFSA (Application of the Precautionary Approach).

The EU proposed reflecting these approaches and principles in the content of individual provisions of the instrument by making them operational. He stressed respect for the freedoms, rights, duties and obligations of States as enshrined in UNCLOS. He stressed also sustainable use of marine biodiversity and underscored the need of public availability of information and transparent and open decision-making processes.

Australia, New Zealand, Norway suggested drawing general principles and approaches of the new instrument on article 5 (General Principal) of the UNFSA as a starting point.

New Zealand put forward some of the principles and approaches related to governance and process issues, e.g. accountability and transparency, and others related to the manner in which marine biodiversity should be conserved and sustainably used under the new agreement, reflecting international best practice, e.g. precautionary approach, ecosystem approach, decisions based on best available scientific information. He suggested any definitions and/or interpretation of guiding approaches and principles should be consistent with those already agreed under UNCLOS, UNFSA, CBD and other relevant international instruments. He calls for recognition of existing relevant legal instruments and frameworks and relevant global, regional and sectoral bodies (in particular UNCLOS, UNFSA, RFMO/As, IMO, ISA, and regional seas conventions) and enhancing cooperation and coordination between and among States and organizations.

Norway underscored that the implementing agreement should provide a common direction to the management in relevant international mechanisms by outlining general principles that the States parties should be obliged to pursue as members of relevant bodies. Articles 5 and 6 of UNFSA contain elements of how such an approach could be formulated in an agreement. He promoted use of environmentally sound techniques and methods of operation in order to prevent or limit damage to biological diversity.

G77&China, AOSIS, CARICOM pointed out implementation of Common heritage of mankind.

CARICOM proposed integrated approach as guiding principle.

CARICOM, EU, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Norway, WWF support ecosystem approach.

CARICOM and the EU suggested science-based approach.

PSIDS, Australia, Canada, New Zealand proposed use of the best available scientific information.

Canada proposed risk-based approach.

CARICOM, EU, PSIDS, and WWF suggested polluter-pays principle.

CARICOM, PSIDS, New Zealand are in favor of adaptive management as guiding principle.

WWF proposed including conservation of biodiversity as a common concern of humankind and recommended adoption of an Annex to the implementing agreement (forming an integral part of the agreement) in order to guide the implementation of ecosystem-based management in the same fashion as Annex II to UNFSA guides the operationalization of the precautionary approach to fisheries.