Rachel Tiller presents Ocean Certain at the UN

by Operational Manager on March 1, 2017

Operational manager of Ocean Certain, Rachel Tiller, was invited as one of three researchers, to participate at a UNAI-ISA Forum to discuss the ongoing process towards a new Treaty under UNCLOS, looking at Biodiversity in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ).

17021682_10154920726566257_7974026043375223841_nThe UN has been working on this issue for 10 years, starting with the Working Group in 2006 as a forum for discussion on improving coordination and cooperation regarding biodiversity in ABNJ.  The last preparatory session will be in July this year, with a resulting report to the General Assembly, which in turn will make a decision about convening and inter-governmental conference to negotiate a draft text by September 2018. The General Assembly has identified a number of topics, including Marine Genetic Resources (MGR) and benefit sharing, the use of area based management tools including Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), and the issue of Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ), and issue of capacity building and the transfer of marine technology.

Dr. Tiller discussed the important elements of the Biological Pump from the Ocean Certain project within a political science context. She emphasized the institutional framework of international managment regimes, and how physical and chemical changes to the ocean will have dramatic effects on marine resources, which in turn will lead to unprecedented scales of exogenous shocks to existing management regimes. She underscored how changes because of climatic stressors should be considered when framing a new Treaty such as the BBNJ, in order to be prepared for future scenarios beyond the expected paths.

The meeting took place on February 28th 2017 at the United Nations building in New York City. It was organized by the International Studies Association and United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI), a project of the Secretary General. The event was an open, Chatham House Rules-style discussion between the researcers and UN personnel on the law of the sea and biological diversity and took place from 10am – 1pm at the United Nations Building. The academic panel discussants, who joined a number of UN participants with expertise on the Law of the Sea and the BBNJ specifically, were:

  • Rachel Tiller Researcher, SINTEF Ocean/NTNU
  • Áslaug Ásgeirsdóttir  Professor, Department of Politics, Bates College
  • Dr. Elizabeth Nyman Assistant Professor of Political Science and, Coordinator, Maritime Studies Program, Texas A&M University at Galveston

Outside the UN building, New York city

From left: Assistant Professor Elizabeth Nyman, Texas A&M at Galveston, Researcher Rachel Tiller, SINTEF Ocean and Professor Aslaug Asgeirdottir, Bates College.

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