High Seas Protected Areas: learning from success

This Knowledge Cafe will identify winning approaches that can be replicated on the high seas (areas beyond national jurisdiction), leading to the identification, designation and effective management of a representative system of marine protected areas (MPAs).

Through exchange of information on existing and emerging offshore MPAs and scenario studies of potential paths ahead, particpants will identify key elements for success. Participants will also share new scientific, analytical and legal tools for building systems of MPAs as part of a wider integrated ecosystem-approach.

The results will have three direct avenues for influence: 1) the United Nations Working Group studying ways to improve the conservation and management of marine biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction, 2) the Convention on Biological Diversity efforts to identify areas of ecological or biological significance, and 3) ongoing and future "on the water" initiatives to progress marine protected areas and integrated management.

Background: Marine protected area systems are widely recognised as key tools for building the resilience of marine ecosystems, protecting important habitats and enhancing food security. Yet very few MPAs exist in the 50% of the planet beyond national boundaries. This is due to a variety of legal and institutional gaps and challenges. For example, there is no global agreement or mechanism to facilitate the establishment of high seas MPAs. Moreover, the conventional sectoral approach to oceans management can hamper efforts to protect specific areas from multiple threats. Yet, despite the odds against them, some ocean regions have successfully established high seas MPAs. This Knowledge Cafe will enable lessons learned to be shared from successful experiences in the establishment and management of remote MPAs both within and beyond national jurisdiction.

Geographical scope:

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