Written by Nereus Research Fellow Harriet Harden-Davies,
More than 50 participants gathered at the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 22-23 January 2020, to discuss the development of a historic new treaty for marine biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction. Participants at the workshop (held by the University of Aberdeen, Deep Ocean Stewardship Initiative and the Atlas project) included policymakers, diplomats, civil society and academic experts. The facilitated discussions, convened under Chatham House rules, began with short provocations to set the scene. Dr. Harriet Harden-Davies was an invited speaker for the session on Access and Benefit-Sharing. Her intervention stressed the importance of the scientific, ecological and social value of marine genetic resources in framing the issue of benefit sharing and linking it to biodiversity conservation.
She also proposed ways for the BBNJ agreement to create a transparent and participatory enabling environment for science cooperation. With the fourth (and possibly final) round of negotiations fast approaching, this workshop provided a valuable opportunity to exchange views and identify areas where further discussions are needed.
A public event and reception was also held at the Royal Society of Edinburgh on the evening of 22 January. Harriet Harden-Davies delivered the opening address. She highlighted the deep, distant and diverse nature of marine areas beyond national jurisdiction and the importance of international cooperation to tackle challenges relating to conservation and sustainable use. The event was at full capacity with more than 110 attendees and, as a lively discussion continued into the night, the broad interest in this shared area of our global ocean was clear.
This post was updated on Jan. 28, 2020 to include the photos and captions.