Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Date of Original Version



The process for formulating a new treaty for ‘Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction’ (BBNJ) has been long. Since informal discussions began in 2004, the international community has devoted nearly 20 years to setting the agenda, circumscribing the issue areas, and negotiating the terms of a legally binding BBNJ instrument. The fourth and fifth inter-governmental conferences (IGCs), which both occurred in 2022 after a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19, were supposed to be the last. But despite major movement, altered modalities, and three versions of the draft treaty texts circulated during IGC-5, another round of negotiations ended without consensus on a new agreement. This paper explores the relationships between the pace and content of the emerging treaty, on the one hand, and the dynamics of process, interests, power, and ideology, on the other. After an overview of the negotiation format and apparent progress, subsequent sections consider in turn the issue areas of marine genetic resources (MGRs), area-based management tools, including marine protected areas (ABMTs/MPAs), environmental impact assessments (EIAs), and capacity building and transfer of marine technology (CBTMT). Institutional arrangements and cross cutting issues are also highlighted as key areas where obstacles remain, but where there is simmering hope.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Marine Policy



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.