OSPAR and United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

21 October 2015

Executive Secretary Darius Campbell is in Istanbul at the global meeting of Secretariats of the Regional Seas Conventions (RSCs) from all over the world. Together they will be developing plans to support Contracting Parties in their achievement of the new United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals.

Darius is presenting OSPAR’s experience working in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ).

United Nations Sustainable Goals

The United Nations sustainable development goals are a new, universal set of goals, targets and indicators that UN member states will be expected to use to frame their agendas and political policies over the next 15 years. The Sustainable Development Goals follow and expand on the millennium development goals, which were agreed by governments in 2001 and are due to expire at the end of this year.

The 17 goals cover a range of topics aimed at making our planet a fairer and better place for all. One of the goals is to "Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. This goal has a number of targets related to the work of OSPAR covering areas such as marine litter, ecosytem management, ocean acidification, marine protected areas, marine technology and the consevation of the ocean.

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) RSCs

UNEP's Regional Seas Programme was launched in 1974 aimimg to address the accelerating degradation of the world’s oceans and coastal areas through the sustainable management and use of the marine and coastal environment, by engaging neighbouring countries in comprehensive and specific actions to protect their shared marine environment. It has accomplished this by stimulating the creation of Regional Seas programmes prescriptions for sound environmental management to be coordinated and implemented by countries sharing a common body of water.

Today, more than 143 countries participate in 13 Regional Seas programmes established under the auspices of UNEP: Black Sea, Wider Caribbean, East Asian Seas, Eastern Africa,South Asian Seas, ROPME Sea Area, Mediterranean, North-East Pacific, Northwest Pacific,Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, South-East Pacific, Pacific, and Western Africa.

Furthermore, OSPAR (for the North East Atlantic region) and 4 other partner programmes for the Antarctic,Arctic, Baltic Sea and Caspian Sea Regions are members of the RS family.

Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) provides that the areas beyond the limits of national jurisdiction (ABNJ) include:

  1. the water column beyond the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), or beyond theTerritorial Sea where no EEZ has been declared, called the High Seas (Article 86); and
  2. the seabed which lies beyond the limits of the continental shelf, established in conformity with Article 76 of the Convention, designated as "the Area" (Article 1).

A view of the Bosphorus by Executvie Secretary Darius Campbell

Main image: Moyan Brenn