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Open Access Marine Protected Areas beyond National Jurisdiction: Some Practical Perspectives for Moving Ahead

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Marine Protected Areas beyond National Jurisdiction: Some Practical Perspectives for Moving Ahead

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AbstractDespite strong legal duties and political commitments for marine conservation and ecosystem-based management, biodiversity in the high seas and the Area (jointly referred to as areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ)) is under increasing threat. One important tool for enhancing conservation and multi-sectoral cooperation is the establishment and maintenance of representative networks of marine protected areas (MPAs). This commentary reviews potential avenues for accelerating progress towards representative MPA networks as part of a larger-scale effort towards improving the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction. It builds on the report by Petra Drankier, Marine Protected Areas in Areas beyond National Jurisdiction, Report on Research Question 2 of the Study on ‘Biological Diversity and Governance of the High Seas’ (2011), which describes the applicable global and regional conventions by discussing the strengths and weaknesses of proposed avenues for progress, including a possible multilateral agreement under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (LOSC). The commentary concludes with some observations for a pragmatic path ahead.


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