Marine Biodiversity Management under the UNCLOS: Scope and Challenges in the era of blue Economy Policy
Developing a governance framework for marine biodiversity, explicitly to Marine Genetic Resources (MGRs) is crucial for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity. Addressing the challenge of protecting biodiversity in the global ocean requires a sound knowledge and understanding of the complex marine environment with a sound support for ocean governance, including data development and expert consultation, that could also contribute to the UN Decade of Ocean Science for the proposed 2021–2030 Sustainable Development. Future challenges include capacity building and new approaches to incorporate traditional knowledge. Even though the CBD framework put forward a legal framework for the governance of biological diversity from within national jurisdiction, but the issue of biodiversity governance from beyond national jurisdictions remained unaddressed. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) framework leaves behind the marine scientific research activities under the ‘freedom of high seas’ regime, but the international community has become increasingly aware of the growing threats to marine biodiversity in ABNJ and been conferring alternatives to conserve and sustainably use it. UNCLOS proposes to promote sustainable use and conservation of marine living resources especially marine mammals and highly migratory species but specifically silent on marine genetic resources and promotion of marine scientific research in ABNJ for the efficient utilization of resources. UNCLOS lacks modern conservation principles (such as the ecosystem approach and precautionary principle) and conservation tools (such as strategic environmental assessments and marine spatial planning) that is part of achieving sustainable development goals. This paper aims to do critical study of UNCLOS provisions and the international legal principles and economical concepts to bring a balance between competing values, perspectives and interests in the conservation and sustainable governance of marine biodiversity is aimed through this paper.
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