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Students attend UN negotiations on marine resources

May 27, 2014 — Nearly two-thirds of the world’s oceans lack national jurisdiction, representing one of the world’s last global commons. Rich in biodiversity, these areas play a crucial role in the functioning of marine ecosystems.

Students from the University of Delaware College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment recently attended United Nations negotiations in New York on the management of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ). Discussions focused on the scope, parameters and feasibility of potential international policy for the conservation of marine biodiversity.

Students and faculty members Biliana Cicin-Sain and Miriam Balgos of the Gerard J. Mangone Center for Marine Policy joined more than 200 participants last month, including national delegations, non-governmental organizations and industry. Goals included identifying gaps in existing legal frameworks and examining the pros and cons of developing a possible new agreement on ABNJ under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

“Attending the negotiations gave me a much greater appreciation for what goes into the creation of policy on an international scale,” said Taylor Daley, a marine science major. “It was exciting to be able to participate in such an active field of policy where many of the issues are unprecedented.”