Journal article Open Access

Marine spatial planning in areas beyond national jurisdiction

Wright, Glen; Gjerde, Kristina; Johnson, David; Finkelstein, Aria; Adelaide Ferreira, Maria; Dunn, Daniel; Grehan, Anthony; Rodriguez Chaves, Mariamalia

Pressure on marine areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ) has increased significantly in recent decades, prompting the international community to begin formal negotiations for a legally binding agreement on the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in these areas. The current international legal framework does not provide for the creation of holistic and cross-sectoral area-based management tools (ABMTs) in ABNJ. The forthcoming negotiations will consider how to fill this gap. Marine spatial planning (MSP) is one ABMT that could be covered in a new agreement, alongside marine protected areas (MPAs) and other measures. This article introduces the current framework for MSP in ABNJ, provides discussion of selected ongoing initiatives, and proposes some avenues for inclusion of MSP in a new agreement, including general provisions, institutional implications, and possible models for an international MSP process.

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