Wednesday, 7 November 2012

High Seas Alliance Newsletter, November 2012

Dear High Seas Alliance Members and Friends,

Please find below news from the High Seas Alliance and its member organizations. Our newsletter will go out on the first of each month. Please feel free to submit member organization news and updates by the 20th of each month to be included. Items can be submitted to We are also working on a new, splashy format for our newsletter which will be launched in December.

HSA Newsletter, November 1 2012

Recent Progress on Protecting the High Seas

Updates and Recent Meetings and Events

High Seas Alliance Membership

Over the last few months, several new organizations have joined the High Seas Alliance. We welcome the International Oceans Institute, the Zoological Society of London and the Terra Mar Project.

IUCN World Conservation Congress (Jeju,Korea, September 6-15 2012)

HSA members collaborated on two events focused on high sea biodiversity protection, 1) Workshop on “High Seas Conservation: how can we manage our common oceans responsibly?” and 2) Knowledge cafĂ© on “High seas protected areas: learning from success.” The passage of the key resolution for high seas biodiversity was a major victory.

Motion 96—Implementing conservation and sustainable management of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction in summary form, calls on governments and IUCN to:

a. Address ocean governance gaps in the protection and conservation of biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction through the negotiation of a new implementing agreement under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea which could, among other things:

· identify, design and effectively manage a global network of fully comprehensive, adequate and representative high seas MPAs, including reserves, and other effective spatial management measures;

· require comprehensive prior assessments and ongoing monitoring; iii) ensure transparency in decision-making;

· consider the question of sharing of benefits of marine genetic resources ;

· require application of the ecosystem and precautionary approaches;

· ensure effective monitoring, control surveillance and compliance and enforcement measures.

b. Ensure through spatial and regional approaches, the identification and protection of areas of importance for marine biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction, including support to the Global Ocean Biodiversity Initiative (GOBI) and similar scientific efforts that assist in identifying ecologically or biologically significant areas (EBSAs), vulnerable marine ecosystems (VMEs) and other important areas and the design of MPAs networks; and

c. Ensure long-term conservation and sustainable use of fisheries resources in areas beyond national jurisdiction while protecting marine biodiversity, safeguarding vulnerable marine species and habitats, and maintaining ecosystem goods and services.

The final text of the resolution should be available soon on the IUCN website.

Convention on Biological Diversity (Hyderabad, India, October 8-19, 2012)

HSA members, including WWF, Birdlife, Greenpeace and IUCN attended the CBD COP 11 in Hyderabad, India and worked effectively together ensuring that there was good progress on ecologically and biologically significantareas as well as marine environmental impact assessments and strategic environmental assessments.

Kristina Gjerde, Senior High Seas Advisor, IUCN Global Marine and Polar Programme is featured on Climate Change TV on CBD outcomes:

The official press release from the CBD Conference of Parties in Hyderabad places the marine outcomes on “ecologically and biologically significant areas” (EBSAs) and the guidelines for environmental impact assessment for the marine environment as amongst the key decisions of the meeting, just after the agreement of developed countries to double the resources for biodiversity protection by 2015. The Sargasso Sea is specifically mentioned in the third paragraph.

Official CBD Press Release: At United Nations Biodiversity Conference, countries agree to double resources for biodiversity protection by 2015 Special attention for biodiversity-rich marine areas among other key outcomes


“The Sargasso Sea, the Tonga archipelago and key corals sites off the coast of Brazil are among a range of marine areas to receive special attention by governments as part of renewed efforts to sustainably manage the world's oceans agreed in Hyderabad. Many of the areas are beyond national jurisdictions and, as such, receive little or no protection at present.

Other key decisions taken at the 11th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP 11) include new measures to factor biodiversity into environmental impact assessments linked to infrastructure and other development projects in marine and coastal areas.”

CBD Decision on EBSAsThe CBD has agreed that the areas described in the regional workshops as ecologically or biologically significant should be placed in the CBD EBSA Repository and transmitted to the UN and other competent organizations for further action. Below is the key paragraph:

“ 6. Noting that, in accordance with decision X/29, the application of the scientific criteria for ecologically or biologically significant marine areas is a scientific and technical exercise and emphasizing that the identification of ecologically or biologically significant marine areas and the selection of conservation and management measures is a matter for States and competent intergovernmental organizations, in accordance with international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, as stated in paragraph 26 of decision X/29, requests the Executive Secretary to include the summary reports on the description of areas that meet the criteria for ecologically or biologically significant marine areas, prepared by the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice at its sixteenth meeting and contained in the annex to this decision, in the repository, as referred to in decision X/29 and this decision, and, for the purpose set out in decision X/29, to submit them to the United Nations General Assembly and particularly its Ad Hoc Open-ended Informal Working Group to Study Issues Relating to the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Biological Diversity Beyond Areas of National Jurisdiction, as well as to submit them to Parties, other Governments and relevant international organizations, and further requests the Executive Secretary to submit them to the Ad Hoc Working Group of the Whole on the Regular Process for Global Reporting and Assessment of the State of the Marine Environment, including Socio-economic Aspects, as well as to provide them as a source of information to United Nations specialized agencies;....

For more information see: The Convention on Biological Diversity brings focus to the remote ocean Press coverage included a story by AFP that was picked up around the globe: Conference seeks to curb exploitation of high seas

Upcoming Meetings

UNGA Oceans and Law of the Sea Resolution

The High Seas Alliance will be present at the upcoming negotiations of the United Nations General Assembly Oceans and Law of the Sea Resolution in New York, November 14-21st. Our goal at this meeting is to build on the momentum achieved at Rio + 20 towards protection of the high seas, with a view towards the negotiation of an Implementing Agreement to UNCLOS by 2014. HSA members, the Pew Environment Group and Greenpeace have produced policy statements for the negotiations. These can be viewed here: Pew and Greenpeace.

High Seas Alliance Member News

BirdLife Launches First Global Inventory of marine Important Bird Areas (IBAs) BirdLife has launched its first global inventory of marine Important Bird Areas (IBAs)! This is another ground breaking product from the BirdLife Partnership, filled with useful information for marine conservation. Please help us to spread news of this fantastic resource by sharing the press release with your contacts, posting links on your websites and promoting through government and the media. See the project press release here: and more information here:

Terra Mar Project Launches at Blue Ocean Film Festival On September 28th, 2012 the The TerraMar Project was launched at the BLUE Ocean Film Festival & Conservation Summit. If you haven't already done so please sign up for citizenship - sponsor a parcel of ocean or become an Ambassador to TerraMar by “friending” a species. As of November 1, 4330 citizens have signed up for citizenship of the high seas! Terra Mar looks forward to continuing to collaborate with High Seas Alliance member organizations and encourages you to keep us in the loop regarding all of your individual ocean work or interest in speaking about out project.

For more information please contact Samantha Harris at Read the Daily Catch and more about the project at

Sargasso Sea Alliance

In September, the Sargasso Sea Alliance released a report, “The

protection and management of the Sargasso Sea: The golden floating rainforest of the Atlantic Ocean-Summary Science and Supporting Evidence Case” which highlights the importance of this area and makes the case for protection.

Susanna D. Fuller
High Seas Alliance Coordinator