Taking climate-smart governance to the high seas

Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the Agreement on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ)—the BBNJ Agreement—was adopted in 2023 and subsequently signed by nearly 90 nations (1). This agreement calls for integrated approaches to high seas governance (2) and tools to sustain ocean ecosystems, such as marine protected areas (MPAs) and strategic environmental assessments (3). Although highly protected areas can be effective in conserving marine biodiversity in specific locales, in the face of a changing climate, comprehensive climate-smart marine spatial planning (MSP) (4, 5) must be pioneered in the high seas to deliver long-term resilience of all marine ecosystems and species. At their May 2024 meeting, Parties to the Antarctic Treaty can consider climate-smart MSP and seize an opportunity to demonstrate a collaborative approach to ocean management in ABNJ.


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Authors: Santos, Catarina Frazão, Agardy, Tundi, Brooks, Cassandra, Gjerde, Kristina M., Payne, Cymie, Wedding, Lisa M., Xavier, José C. ORCIDORCID record for José C. Xavier, Crowder, Larry B.

16 May, 2024
Science / 384
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