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Kristina Gjerde is an IUCN Senior High Seas Advisor, Adjunct Professor of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, and co-lead of the Deep Ocean Stewardship Initiative. On February 21, 2018, she delivered a Stockholm Seminar at the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences titled “Unfinished business of UNCLOS: Marine biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction”.
Her talk focused on the nearly two-thirds of the ocean that exists beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ), an area roughly equivalent to half of the Earth’s surface. In ABNJ, a fragmented institutional landscape has resulted in considerable governance gaps, which pose a risk to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. She described the long process of building consensus among states about the need for a new international treaty on biodiversity in ABNJ, resulting in a United Nations General Assembly decision on December 24, 2017 to start treaty negotiations.
Her seminar centered around five themes: the challenge of creating a new treaty to save the high seas without undermining existing institutions; the legal context for negotiating the treaty; a set of seven aspirational goals for the new treaty; future obstacles; and the role of science and scientists in contributing to this process.
The United Nations General Assembly decision to launch the treaty negotiations is available here.