EU Council Working Party Law of the Sea (COMAR)

4 February 2019

OSPAR Executive Secretary Susana Salvador attended the EU Council Working Party on the Law of the Sea (COMAR) in Brussels in January 2019. She was joined by Adrian Judd, the convenor or our group on delivering an ecosystem approach to the management of human activities in the North-East Atlantic through cumulative effects assessment.

Susana informed the group of the general remit of OSPAR, the process for designating Marine Protected Areas, international cooperation, and the collective arrangement. The ‘Collective Arrangement between competent international organisations on cooperation and coordination regarding selected areas in areas beyond national jurisdiction in the North-East Atlantic’ (Collective Arrangement, OSPAR Agreement 2014-09) adopted by the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic (OSPAR) and the North-East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC) in 2014 is a formal agreement between legally competent authorities managing human activities in the Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ) in the North-East Atlantic.

Adrian gave a presentation on the work that OSPAR is carrying out on the assessment of cumulative effects and the 'bow-tie approach' which will contribute towards OSPAR's next full assessment of the state of the North-East Atlantic due in 2023.

COMAR considered OSPAR’s presentation very useful and its work relevant in relation to the ongoing BBNJ discussions. Some delegations found the OSPAR’s example could be replicated in other regions and advised on the expansion of the Collective Arrangement.OSPAR agreed to update COMAR on relevant developments in the future at the invitation of the European Commission.