For over a decade, discussions on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ) have been taking place at the United Nations (UN). On 19 June 2015, the UN General Assembly decided to develop ‘an international legally-binding instrument’ on BBNJ under UNCLOS and, to that end, establish a preparatory committee (PrepCom) to make substantive recommendations on the elements of a draft text of the instrument.

Against that background, in 2015, CIL decided to extend its Ocean Law and Policy research topics to include BBNJ issues. On 3-4 February 2016, CIL organised a major conference to prepare the relevant stakeholders (members of the UN, members of specialised agencies, state parties to UNCLOS and other stakeholders) for the PrepCom and to raise awareness of, and to build capacity on BBNJ issues in the region. The outcome of the conference was a report that was circulated to relevant stakeholders at the PrepCom meetings.

CIL has continued to follow the UN discussions on BBNJ and provided expert contributions to the project.