Dr. Yimnang Golbuu, the CEO of the Palau International Coral Reef Center, recently attended the second session of the Preparatory Committee established by United Nations General Assembly resolution 69/292. The Preparatory Committee focused on development of an international legally binding instrument under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ). [restrict]
Because of Palau’s and PICRC’s work on marine conservation, Dr. Golbuu was invited to attend the conference and give a talk at the conference side event on “Exploring the benefits and options for establishing marine protected areas, including reserves, in areas beyond national jurisdiction.” Dr. Golbuu’s talk focused on the marine conservation efforts in Palau with the Protected Areas Network (PAN), especially connectivity among Palau’s Marine Protected Areas (MPA). While the meeting focused on BBNJ or the high seas, the lessons from Palau on nearshore conservation efforts can be used to guide development of high seas MPAs.
Dr. Golbuu joined Dr. Judy Otto and Ms. Landisang Kotaro from the Palau Mission at the United Nations for the first week of the meeting. Dr. Otto and Ms. Kotaro will continue to attend the second week of the Preparatory Committee meeting, while Dr. Golbuu returned back to Palau.
The international community has become increasingly aware of the importance and rich biodiversity of marine ecosystems found in areas beyond national jurisdictions or the high seas. There is also a growing realization that we need to better manage and protect biodiversity found in the high seas. But since the high seas fall outside of individual countries jurisdictions, we need an international agreement on how to manage them. The aim of the Preparatory Committee meeting is to seek agreement among the countries around the world on how to conserve and manage marine biodiversity of the high seas. [/restrict]