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The Other 46% —Prospects for a New Treaty on Sustainable Use of High Seas Biodiversity

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Wednesday, 07 March 2018, 12:30

Wednesday, March 7, 2018. 12:30 PM.  The Other 46% —Prospects for a New Treaty on Sustainable Use of High Seas Biodiversity. Cymie Payne, Rutgers University. Sponsored by Department of Human Ecology. More information here.


Governments will begin to negotiate a treaty for the high seas—ocean areas that are not part of any country—this September. The agreement will cover ocean areas that are roughly 46% of the Earth’s surface, and that contain not only fish and whales but potentially valuable genetic resources associated with deep sea life forms. It will focus on conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in these areas beyond national jurisdiction, thus its nickname “BBNJ”. Governance challenges are many: managing uses of resources that scientists have yet to describe and understand; agreeing whether equity is required in extracting value from high seas biodiversity; effectively conserving marine biodiversity while not undermining existing agreements, particularly the numerous arrangements for commercial fisheries. The rules and norms established through this process are also likely to influence those for outer space exploration and its eventual exploitation.


Cymie Payne, J.D., is Associate Professor in the Department of Human Ecology. Her research on international governance is currently focused on the new high seas treaty negotiation and the rights of the international community in environmental integrity of common areas, including outer space. Payne participates in the negotiations as legal counsel to the delegation of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). She has advised on the interests of the international community in the marine environment as legal counsel before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea in Hamburg and has provided expert advice on valuation of environmental damage before other international courts. She is a member of the faculties of the Law School; Department of Landscape Architecture; Earth, Oceans and Atmospheric Sciences Institute; Rutgers Climate Institute; and the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy.

Location  Blake Hall, Room 131, Cook Campus