The United Nations is currently undertaking negotiations with a view to concluding an international legally binding instrument for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (the BBNJ Treaty).
The BBNJ Treaty will be an implementing agreement under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Although three of four planned negotiating sessions have been completed, it is clear that states are still a long way from reaching a final agreement. This paper will identify key areas of disagreement among states and situate the negotiations within structural challenges facing the law of the sea and international law. The prospects of states agreeing to a Treaty that is ambitious and effective will be assessed.
Joanna Mossop is an Associate Professor at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Her research interests are in the law of the sea and international environmental law and she has published widely on issues such as marine biodiversity, dispute settlement, maritime security, Antarctica, and whaling. Her book, The Continental Shelf Beyond 200 Nautical Miles: Rights and Responsibilities (Oxford University Press) won the JF Northey Memorial Book Award in 2017. She is a member of the New Zealand delegation to the Intergovernmental Conference negotiating the BBNJ Treaty and is working on several writing projects connected to the process. In 2019 New Zealand nominated her to the list of arbitrators and conciliators under Annexes V and VII of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. She is a member of the Council of the Australia New Zealand Society of International Law. She is a MacCormick Fellow at the University of Edinburgh (until January 2020).