The coastal states of the Southeast Pacific and Southeast Atlantic have recognized the need to protect the marine environment beyond their national jurisdiction. With climate change and overexploitation impacting the high seas negatively, coastal waters are also coming under pressure. Funded by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, the research project STRONG High Seas – Strengthening Regional Ocean Governance for the High Seas collaborates with governments and other stakeholders in both regions to develop new approaches for the protection of the high seas. The researchers recently issued their recommendations on the further development of legal and institutional frameworks, which are a key focus of this project:
- Cross-sectoral cooperation between organisations can support the implementation of an ecosystem-based approach to the management of marine resources. Marine ecosystem-based approaches are informed by the insight that their proper management calls for holistic strategies and effective measures to protect ecosystem health.
- Coastal States in the Southeast Atlantic and Southeast Pacific could choose to implement common policies for areas for which there is currently insufficient regulation in place. They could designate conservation priorities, assign responsibilities, and impose stricter standards.
- Challenges to cross-sectoral cooperation can be eased if more States in the regions become parties to the key international and regional agreements, including a future treaty for the protection of the high seas.
- Coastal States could form coalitions to promote mutual interests within existing processes and in the negotiations for a new treaty for the protection of the high seas.
- They could promote the sustainable management of the high seas by voicing their views and proposing management actions at global and regional fora.
- Regional programmes for the protection of marine areas within national jurisdictions could be expanded to include high seas areas.
- A robust scientific basis and developing capacities for taking action are also important for the implementation of conservation and management measures and to ensure the complementarity of sectoral measures.
The recommendations were first published in an extensive report in December, and the project recently released a summary for decision-makers in English, French, and Spanish. In March, the researchers discussed their findings and further plans for the project with government representatives and stakeholders from civil society at a workshop in Ecuador and a side event to the UN negotiations on the protection of the high seas.
Durussel, C., Wright, G., Wienrich, N., Boteler, B., Unger, S., Rochette, J. (2019): Summary for Decision-Makers. Strengthening Regional Ocean Governance for the High Seas: Opportunities and Challenges to Improve the Legal and Institutional Framework of the Southeast Atlantic and Southeast Pacific. STRONG High Seas Project.
Durussel, C., Wright, G., Wienrich, N., Boteler, B., Unger, S., Rochette, J. (2019): Resumen para tomadores de decisiones. Fortalecimiento de la gobernanza regional de los océanos en alta mar: Oportunidades y desafíos para mejorar el marco jurídico e institucional del Atlántico Sudeste y el Pacífico Sudeste. Proyecto STRONG High Seas.
Durussel, C., Wright, G., Wienrich, N., Boteler, B., Unger, S., Rochette, J. (2019): Résumé à l’intention des décideurs. Renforcer la gouvernance régionale des océans pour la haute mer: Opportunités et défis rencontrés concernant l’amélioration du cadre juridique et institutionnel de l’Atlantique du Sud-Est et du Pacifique du Sud-Est. Projet STRONG High Seas.
Durussel, C., Wright, G., Wienrich, N., Boteler, B., Unger, S., Rochette, J. (2018): Strengthening Regional Ocean Governance for the High Seas: Opportunities and Challenges to Improve the Legal and Institutional Framework of the Southeast Atlantic and Southeast Pacific, Potsdam : Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS), 90 S. p.