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Addressing the ocean-climate nexus in the BBNJ agreement: strategic environmental assessments, human rights and equity in ocean science

Elisa Morgera, Kirsty McQuaid, Giulia La Bianca, Holly Niner, Lynne Shannon, Mia Strand, Sian Rees, Kerry Howell, Bernadette Snow, Alana Malinde SN Lancaster and Warwick Sauer

One Ocean Hub, University of Strathclyde, UK

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  • deep sea,
  • human rights,
  • inequalities,
  • international agreement on marine biodiversity beyond national borders (BBNJ Agreement),
  • Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)
Target Group
  • Policy makers,
  • Researchers,
  • Students,
  • Teachers
  • English
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Providing a global assessment of international obligations addressing the ocean-climate nexus, this paper calls for fair research partnerships considering context, diverse knowledge, power dynamics.

Published on the 12 July 2023, this open access scientific article provides a transdisciplinary assessment of the Agreement of Marine Biodiversity of Areas beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ) in the global North and South deep-sea ecosystems and human rights context, by focusing on the significance of the new Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEAs) provisions. To achieve this, this article brings together insights from deep-sea biodiversity and fisheries, social sciences and international law literature. The study asserts that there are disparities in access to fundamental aspects of marine biodiversity, these inequalities are experienced predominately in the Global South. The authors include that even if the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea (LOSC) foresaw the need to fill these knowledge gaps and address such inequalities, it is clear that implementation of the discussed provisions has been insufficient over the past 40 years. Finally, the authors conclude by recommending implementation of the Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEAs) to support a more integrated implementation of other parts of the BBNJ agreement while contributing to the broader effectiveness of the provisions of the UN Convention of the LOSC on the protection of the ocean environment in and outside national jurisdiction.

This article was published in the International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law and should be cited as:

Morgera, E, McQuaid, K, La Bianca, G, Niner, H, Shannon, L, Strand, M, Rees, S, Howell, K, Snow, B, Lancaster, A,M,S,N, Sauer, S. Addressing the ocean-climate nexus in the BBNJ Agreement: strategic environmental assessments, human rights and equity in ocean science. International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law. 2023; 38: 1-33. doi:10.1163/15718085-bja10139.