In 2014, OSPAR and the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC) adopted a collective arrangement for working together on particular areas outside national jurisdiction within their convention areas.
The management of human activities taking place in the oceans outside of national jurisdiction like fishing, shipping, laying of pipelines and cables, extraction of mineral resources and management of pollution, fall to a number of international organisations with different competencies. However, if we are to succeed in taking an ecosystem approach to the sustainable management of our seas, it is important that we find a way for countries to coordinate and cooperate their work through these organisations, without one organisation undermining the mandate of another.
The collective arrangement is a text that provides an informal framework for dialogue and sharing information of mutual interest – respecting mandates and legal competencies. Of course it is important to include other sectors in the conversation too. This is a starting point that is seen as of benefit to both OSPAR and NEAFC.
In 2015, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) asked the Secretariats of NEAFC and OSPAR to prepare an information paper to describe an overview of the process that led to this cooperative mechanism, from first contact to the implementation of the collective arrangement. The purpose of the paper has been to document the experience so far and to share this with other Regions. The paper, which was written by Stefan Ásmundsson and Emily Corcoran was launched at the 2nd meeting under the collective arrangement which took place in April 2016. You can access the short document here