Meeting participants exchanged perspectives on areas of relevance to regional coordination and cooperation, including other effective area-based conservation measures, marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction, and addressing marine litter.
They also considered the linkages and relevance of regional work to the goals and targets of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.
Representatives of regional seas organizations (RSOs), regional fishery bodies (RFBs), and international organizations and initiatives came together with experts from governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to consider updates on activities to advance cooperation at the regional scale within the framework of the Sustainable Oceans Initiative (SOI).
The third SOI Global Dialogue with Regional Seas Organizations and Regional Fishery Bodies convened from 25-28 October 2022 in Busan, Republic of Korea. Meeting in person for the first time since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, delegates focused on the theme, ‘Forging a New Era of Regional Leadership in the Post-2020 World.’
The Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) summary report of the meeting explains that “the Ocean regulates the climate, absorbs much of the carbon dioxide emitted by human activity, and provides fish and shellfish – the main source of protein to over three billion people.” It further notes that the ecosystem goods and services provided by the Ocean and coastal regions, including food security, livestock feed, raw materials for medicines, building materials from coral rock and sand, and natural defenses against coastal erosion and flooding, amount to an estimated USD 12 trillion.
However, the ENB writes, human activities put pressure on coastal and marine ecosystems, including through climate change, overfishing, and pollution.
In this context, meeting participants exchanged perspectives on areas of relevance to regional coordination and cooperation, including other effective area-based conservation measures, marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ), and addressing marine litter. The ENB notes that since the latter two thematic areas are currently being negotiated, regional organizations found it pertinent to consider their potential approaches to incorporating these issues in their own work plans.
Participants also considered the linkages and relevance of regional work to the goals and targets of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework (GBF). According to the ENB summary, regions also developed or revised “concrete actions and milestones towards roadmaps for implementing the post-2020 GBF” that were captured in the Co-Chairs’ summary of the meeting – the Busan Outcome.
The post-2020 GBF is expected to be adopted at the UN Biodiversity Conference (CBD COP 15) in December 2022. The first meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment, is scheduled to begin its work at the end of November. Negotiations on an international legally binding instrument under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of BBNJ will resume in early 2023. [ENB Coverage of Third Meeting of Sustainable Ocean Initiative Global Dialogue with Regional Seas Organizations and Regional Fishery Bodies]