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Information for 17700IIED

Maximising ecosystem benefits through EIAs in areas beyond national jurisdiction

Daniela Diz

IIED Briefing, 4 pages

A new instrument to govern the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction can provide significant opportunities for many coastal developing countries in general, and for the Least Developed Countries in particular. This briefing shows how robust requirements for Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) could be enshrined in the instrument to protect the interests of vulnerable coastal states. We argue that comprehensive EIAs should be mandatory for any projects or activities taking place under the jurisdiction or control of parties to the instrument — and should consider a full spectrum of environmental, socio-economic and cultural impacts. We also show how negotiators can build on the best aspects of existing marine governance to forge a truly comprehensive instrument that can close the governance gap prevailing across much of the world’s oceans.

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Marine and coastal resources support the livelihoods of millions of poor people across the world. They also provide a range of critical ecosystem services to the rest of the economy. The connection between high seas and coastal waters where small-scale fishers are active is relatively unexplored but already, the need for an ocean governance system, which will protect both areas, is evident.

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