BBNJ Update and Forecast by Captain J Ashley Roach

Participation in this event is by invitation only.


The UN General Assembly has decided (A/RES/72/249) to convene a diplomatic conference to elaborate an internationally legally binding instrument under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Biological Diversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (i.e. the high seas and the deep seabed beyond the outer limits of continental shelves/margins (“the Area”)).

The negotiations will address the topics identified in the 2011 Package, namely the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction, in particular, together and as a whole, marine genetic resources, including questions on the sharing of benefits, measures such as area-based management tools, including marine protected areas, environmental impact assessments, and capacity-building and the transfer of marine technology.

The first session of the conference is scheduled for 4-17 September 2018 at UN Headquarters in New York. This will be preceded by an organizational meeting 16-18 April 2018 to discuss organizational matters, including the process for the preparation of the zero draft of the instrument.

The second and third sessions will be held in 2019 and the fourth session in the first half of 2020.

The topics for the negotiations were discussed at the four preparatory committee sessions in 2016 and 2017, and are the subject of a report to the General Assembly posted on the website of the UN Division of Ocean Affairs and Law of the Sea,

Pursuant to paragraph 5 of the resolution, the President of the General Assembly has nominated Ms. Rena Lee, Attorney General’s Chambers, as President-designate of the Conference.

This presentation will summarise the work of the Preparatory Committee, and suggest possible ways ahead.


Captain Roach is a Visiting Senior Principal Research Fellow at CIL. He has been following closely the development at the United Nations on the discussion on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction. In this seminar, he will summarize the work of the Preparatory Committee, discussion the work plan for the forthcoming diplomatic conference and suggest possible ways ahead.

Click here for his full bio.