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SBSTTA Recommendation

. Marine and coastal biodiversity: ecologically or biologically significant marine areas

XVI/4.Marine and coastal biodiversity: ecologically or biologically significant marine areas

A.The Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice recommends that the Conference of the Parties adopts a decision along the following lines:
The Conference of the Parties,

Description of areas meeting the scientific criteria for ecologically or biologically significant marine areas (EBSAs)

Recalling paragraphs 165 and 167 of General Assembly resolution 66/231 of 24 December 2011, including its annex, on oceans and the law of the sea,
Recalling paragraphs 21 to 26 of Decision X/29, in which the Conference of the Parties recognized that the Convention on Biological Diversity has a key role in supporting the work of the General Assembly with regard to marine protected areas beyond national jurisdiction, by focusing on provision of scientific and, as appropriate, technical information and advice relating to marine biological diversity, the application of the ecosystem approach and the precautionary approach,
1.Expresses its gratitude to the Government of Japan for funding, to the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) for hosting and co-organizing, and to the Government of Australia for providing technical support through the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) to the Western South Pacific Regional Workshop to Facilitate the Description of EBSAs, held in Nadi, Fiji, from 22 to 25 November 2011; to the European Commission for funding, the Government of Brazil for hosting, and the UNEP/Caribbean Environment Programme for co-organizing the Wider Caribbean and Western Mid-Atlantic Regional Workshop, held in Recife, Brazil, from 28 February to 2 March 2012; and to the French Government for hosting, OSPAR and NEAFC for convening, in collaboration with the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Joint OSPAR/NEAFC/CBD Scientific Workshop on the Identification of EBSAs in the North-East Atlantic, held in Hyeres, France, on 8-9 September 2011;
2.Welcomes the scientific and technical evaluation of information contained in the reports of the regional workshops referred to in paragraph 1 above (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/16/INF/5, UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/16/INF/6 and UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/16/INF/7), which provide scientific and technical evaluation of information on the application of scientific criteria (decision IX/20, annex I), as well as other relevant compatible and complementary nationally and intergovernmentally agreed scientific criteria, noting that additional regional workshops are to be convened in other regions in time to be considered by a meeting of the Subsidiary Body prior to the twelfth meeting of the Conference of the Parties;
3.Notes with appreciation the participatory manner by which these regional workshops were convened, and the use of the best available scientific and technical information, which has provided a basis for the reports on the description of areas that meet the criteria for EBSAs, prepared by the Subsidiary Body at its sixteenth meeting, as contained in the summary report in the annex to the present decision and supplemented by the annexes to UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/16/INF/5 4, UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/16/INF/6 and UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/16/INF/7, as well as UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/16/INF/8;
4.Noting that during their 17th Ordinary Meeting held in Paris, from 8 to 10 February 2012, the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean and its Protocols adopted decision IG.20/7 regarding the conservation of sites of particular interest in the Mediterranean and requested the Secretariat of the Barcelona Convention to contact the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity in order to present the work carried out regarding the identification of areas that meet the criteria for ecologically or biologically significant marine areas in the Mediterranean, takes note of the Synthesis Report, as contained in document UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/16/INF/8;
5.Noting that the application of the scientific criteria for EBSAs is a scientific and technical exercise and emphasizing that the identification of ecologically or biologically significant areas and the selection of conservation and management measures is a matter for States and competent intergovernmental organizations, in accordance with international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, as stated in paragraph 26 of decision X/29, [endorses], as a reference for States and competent intergovernmental organizations, the summary reports as contained in the annex to the present decision, prepared by the Subsidiary Body at its sixteenth meeting, based on scientific and technical evaluation of information from the workshops, setting out details of the areas that meet the criteria for EBSAs ( decision IX/20, annex I), and requests the Executive Secretary to include the summary reports [endorsed by the Conference of the Parties] on the description of areas that meet the criteria for EBSAs in the repository, as referred to in paragraph 39 of decision X/29, and, in line with the procedures and purpose set out in paragraph 42 of decision X/29, to submit them to the United Nations General Assembly and particularly its Ad Hoc Open-ended Informal Working Group to study issues relating to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction, as well as to submit them to Parties, other Governments and relevant international organizations, and further requests the Executive Secretary to submit them to the Ad Hoc Working Group of the Whole on the Regular Process for Global Reporting and Assessment of the State of the Marine Environment, including Socio-economic Aspects, as well as to provide them as a source of information to United Nations specialized agencies5;
6.Takes note of the need to promote additional research and monitoring in accordance with national and international laws, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, to improve the ecological or biological information in each region with a view to facilitating the further description of the areas already described, the future description of other areas meeting the scientific criteria for EBSAs as well as other relevant compatible and complementary nationally and intergovernmentally agreed scientific criteria;
7.Reaffirms the need to facilitate the participation of developing countries, in particular the least developed countries and small island developing States, as well as countries with economies in transition, in targeted research schemes called for in paragraphs 10, 20 (b) and 48 of decision X/29, including in oceanographic cruises as well as in those research schemes promoted by the International Seabed Authority;
8.Affirms that scientific description of areas meeting scientific criteria for EBSAs and other relevant criteria is an open process that should be continued to allow ongoing improvement and updating as improved scientific and technical information becomes available in each region;
9.Requests the Executive Secretary to further collaborate with Parties, other Governments and competent organizations and global and regional initiatives, such as the Ad Hoc Working Group of the Whole on the Regular Process for Global Reporting and Assessment of the State of the Marine Environment, including Socio-Economic Aspects, the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), regional seas conventions and action plans, and, where appropriate, regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs), with regard to fisheries management, to facilitate the description of areas that meet the criteria for EBSAs, and the further description of the areas already described, through the organization of additional regional or subregional workshops for the remaining regions or regions where new information becomes available, as appropriate, subject to availability of financial resources, and make the reports available for consideration by future meetings of the Subsidiary Body. The summary reports from the SBSTTA will be made available for future meetings of the Conference of the Parties for endorsement with a view to including the reports endorsed by the Conference of the Parties in the repository in line with the procedures and purpose set out in paragraph 42 of decision X/29;
10.Requests the Executive Secretary to further collaborate with Parties, other Governments and competent organizations to build capacity within countries to address regional priorities of developing country Parties, in particular the least developed countries and small island developing States, as well as countries with economies in transition, including those countries with globally significant upwelling systemsthrough the organization of regional or subregional capacity-building workshops, as called for in paragraph 37 of decision X/29, and other means;

EBSA repository and information sharing mechanism

11.Expresses its gratitude to the Government of Germany for funding and welcomes the EBSA prototype repository and information sharing mechanism for scientific and technical information and experience related to the application of the scientific criteria (annex I to decision IX/20) as well as other relevant compatible and complementary nationally and intergovernmentally agreed scientific criteria. This mechanism serves as a web-based input tool and database to assist Parties, other Governments and competent organizations in sharing scientific and technical information and experience related to the application of the scientific criteria for EBSAs in annex I of decision IX/20, as well as other relevant compatible and complementary nationally and intergovernmentally agreed scientific criteria, and provides scientific information and data to the regional workshops convened by the Executive Secretary, as called for in paragraph 36 of decision X/29 and paragraph 9 above, to describe areas meeting the scientific criteria for EBSAs and other relevant criteria;
12.Requests the Executive Secretary to further develop, subject to availability of financial resources, the prototype repository and information-sharing mechanism into a fully functional repository and information sharing mechanism so that it can fully serve the purpose called for in paragraph 39 of decision X/29, in collaboration with Parties, other Governments, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea (UNDOALOS), the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO-IOC), in particular the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS), the World Conservation Monitoring Centre of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP-WCMC), Global Ocean Biodiversity Initiative, and other competent organizations, noting the need to have a clear distinction between the repository containing the information included on the basis of endorsements by the Conference of the Parties as called for in paragraph 42 of decision X/29 and other information entered in the information sharing mechanism, and report on progress to a meeting of the Subsidiary Body prior to twelfth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention;
13.Encourages Parties, other Governments and intergovernmental organizations to develop regional data inventories with metadata, taking into consideration their confidentiality, where applicable, which are linked to the information-sharing mechanism (paragraph 39 of decision X/29) and other relevant data sources, in order to track the location of datasets used in the description of areas that meet the criteria for EBSAs by the regional workshops, to be undertaken in the remaining regions, as referred to in paragraph 36 of decision X/29 and paragraph 9 above, and, recalling paragraph 41 of decision X/29, requests the Executive Secretary to make the scientific information and data sets compiled by the regional workshops available to Parties, other Governments and intergovernmental organizations for their use according to their competencies, and report on progress of such collaboration to a meeting of the Subsidiary Body prior to twelfth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention;
14.Recalling paragraph 18 of decision IX/20) and paragraph 43 of decision X/29, requests Parties, and other Governments to further provide for inclusion in the repository or information-sharing mechanism, as determined by submitting Parties or Governments, scientific and technical information and experience relating to the application of the criteria in annex I to decision IX/20 or other relevant compatible and complementary nationally and intergovernmentally agreed scientific criteria to areas within national jurisdiction before the twelfth meeting of the Conference of the Parties;

EBSAs capacity-building

15.Welcomes the work of the Executive Secretary, generously funded by the Government of Germany, to develop the EBSA training manual and modules, as contained in document UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/16/INF/9, and requests the Executive Secretary to further refine the training manual and modules, as necessary, including further consultation with Parties and the development of training materials on the use of traditional knowledge. When suitably revised, requests the Executive Secretary to translate the EBSA training manual and modules into the official United Nations languages, and invites Parties, other Governments and United Nations specialized agencies to use these training materials and other means, as appropriate, and, as far as possible, make necessary resources available for this purpose, in order to enhance the scientific and technical capacity within respective countries and regions with regard to describing areas that meet the criteria for EBSAs;
16.Requests the Executive Secretary to collaborate with Parties, other Governments and relevant organizations to strengthen the capacities of countries in scientific staff training and report the progress for consideration at a meeting of the Subsidiary Body prior to the twelfth meeting of the Conference of the Parties;
17.Requests the Executive Secretary to facilitate, subject to availability of financial resources, the organization of training workshops using these training materials in support of future scientific description of areas that meet the criteria for EBSAs at national and regional levels as well as identification of EBSAs by States and competent intergovernmental organizations;

Social and cultural criteria for the description of EBSAs

18.Welcomes the report Identifying specific elements for integrating the traditional, scientific, technical and technological knowledge of indigenous and local communities, and social and cultural criteria and other aspects for the application of scientific criteria for identification of EBSAs as well as the establishment and management of marine protected areas (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/16/INF/10), noting that the best available scientific and technical knowledge, including relevant traditional knowledge, should be the basis for the description of areas that meet the criteria for EBSAs, that additional social and cultural information may be relevant in any subsequent step of selecting conservation and management measures, and that indigenous and local communities should be included in this process, as appropriate;
19.Invites Parties, other Governments and competent intergovernmental organizations, and relevant indigenous and local communities, to make use of the guidance on integration of traditional knowledge in the report mentioned in paragraph 18 above, with the approval and involvement of the holders of such knowledge, where applicable, in any future description of areas that meet the EBSA criteria and for the development of conservation and management measures, and report on progress in this regard to the twelfth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention;
20.Notes that socially and culturally significant areas may require enhanced conservation and management measures, and that criteria for the identification of areas relevant to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in need of such enhanced measures due to their social, cultural and other significance may need to be developed, with appropriate scientific and technical rationales;
21.Urges Parties and invites other Governments, the financial mechanism, and funding organizations to provide adequate, timely, and sustainable support to the implementation of training and capacity building and other activities related to EBSAs, especially for developing countries, in particular least developed countries and small island developing States, as well as Parties with economies in transition.
B.The Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice
1.Requests the Executive Secretary to include the results of regional workshops on describing areas that meet the criteria for EBSAs to be convened by the Executive Secretary and, where appropriate, in conjunction with regional seas conventions and regional fisheries management organizations, with regard to fisheries management, in accordance with paragraph 36 of decision X/29 and paragraph 9 above, in the information-sharing mechanism referred to in paragraph 11 above, for consideration by the Subsidiary Body at a future meeting, with a view to subsequent submission to a meeting of the Conference of the Parties, in accordance with the procedures set out in paragraph 42 of decision X/29 and paragraph 5 above;
2.Noting that workshops have not yet been held in some regions, and emphasizing that all regions should have the opportunity to participate in the process for describing areas that meet the EBSA criteria, requests the Executive Secretary to accord high priority to the organization of additional workshops, with a view to covering all regions where Parties wish workshops to be held, further requests the Executive Secretary to make available to Parties as soon as possible, before the eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties, a schedule of regional workshops to be convened, and invites Parties, other Governments and donors to support these workshops;
3.Recognizing that there is an ongoing scientific and technical process with respect to the areas in the North-East Atlantic described in UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/16/INF/5 and UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/16/INF/5/Add.1, requests the Executive Secretary to include the revised results of the regional workshop for the North-East Atlantic, in accordance with paragraph 36 of decision X/29, and accompanying process, to the extent that these revised results describe areas that are geographically included in those set out in UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/16/INF/5, before the eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties, in the summary report, in the same format and details, prepared by the Subsidiary Body at its sixteenth meeting, pursuant to paragraph 42 of decision X/29.

Annex

SUMMARY REPORT ON THE DESCRIPTION OF AREAS MEETING THE SCIENTIFIC CRITERIA FOR ECOLOGICALLY OR BIOLOGICALLY SIGNIFICANT MARINE AREAS6

1.In paragraph 36 of decision X/29, the Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity requested the Executive Secretary to work with Parties and other Governments as well as competent organizations and regional initiatives, such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), regional seas conventions and action plans, and, where appropriate, regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs), with regards to fisheries management, to organize, including the setting of terms of references, subject to the availability of financial resources, a series of regional workshops, before a future meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) prior to the eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention, with a primary objective to facilitate the description of ecologically or biologically significant marine areas through application of scientific criteria in annex I to decision IX/20 and other relevant compatible and complementary nationally and intergovernmentally agreed scientific criteria, as well as the scientific guidance on the identification of marine areas beyond national jurisdiction, which meet the scientific criteria in annex I to decision IX/20;
2.In paragraph 42 of the same decision, the Conference of Parties to the Convention requested the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) to prepare reports based on scientific and technical evaluation of information from the workshops, setting out details of areas that meet the criteria in annex I to decision IX/20 for consideration and endorsement in a transparent manner by the Conference of the Parties to the Convention, with a view to include the endorsed reports in the repository referred to in paragraph 39 of decision X/29 and to submit them to the United Nations General Assembly and particularly its Ad Hoc Open-ended Informal Working Group, as well as relevant international organizations, Parties and other Governments;
3.Pursuant to the above request, a series of regional workshops were convened either by the Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity or by competent intergovernmental regional organizations in consultation with the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, including: (i) CBD Western South Pacific Regional Workshop to Facilitate the Description of EBSAs held in Nadi, Fiji, from 22 -25 November 2011; and (ii) CBD Wider Caribbean and Western Mid Atlantic Regional Workshop to Facilitate the Description of EBSAs held in Recife, Brazil, from 28 February to 2 March 2011;
4.The summary of the results of these regional workshops are provided in tables 1 and 2 below, respectively, while full application of the criteria are provided in the annexes to the respective reports of the workshops (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/16/INF/6 and UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/16/INF/7);
5.Table 3 presents the outcome of the work carried out within the framework of the Barcelona Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean. The synthesis report on this work is being made available as an information document (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/16/INF/8);
6.In paragraph 26 of decision X/29, the Conference of Parties noted that the application of the ecologically or biologically significant areas (EBSAs) criteria is a scientific and technical exercise, that areas found to meet the criteria may require enhanced conservation and management measures, and that this can be achieved through a variety of means, including marine protected areas and impact assessments, and emphasized that the identification of ecologically or biologically significant areas and the selection of conservation and management measures is a matter for States and competent intergovernmental organizations, in accordance with international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea;
7.The description of marine areas meeting the scientific criteria for ecologically or biologically significant areas (EBSAs) does not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. Nor does it have economic or legal implications, and is strictly a scientific and technical exercise.

4 UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/16/INF/5 is to be revised, and reflected in summary form in the annex to this recommendation, in accordance with paragraph 3 of Part B of this recommendation.
5 Noting that any measures taken with respect to the areas that meet the criteria for EBSAs described in reports referred to in this paragraph, including any selection of conservation and management measures, must be in conformity with international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
6 The designations employed and the presentation of material in this annex do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.