An ATLAS side event, co-sponsored by the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI), featured on day 1 of the 1st Session of the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) on an International Legally Binding Instrument (ILBI) Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Biological Diversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ), that took place from 4 to 17 September 2018, at UN Headquarters in New York.

The ATLAS event entitled ‘Building MSP frameworks to enable Blue Growth' emphasised that marine spatial planning can be a tool to be included in the Implementing Agreement, but this requires international cooperation and articulation with the national MSP efforts being developed by adjacent States. Co-chaired by Ambassador Serge Segura (Ambassadeur chargé des océans, France) the side event was informed by presentations from Daniela Diz (University of Strathclyde), Julian Barbiere (IOC-UNESCO), Susanna Fuller (Oceans North, Canada), David Johnson (ATLAS), Biliana Cicin-Sain (Global Ocean Forum) and Glen Wright (IDDRI).

Representing ATLAS, David Johnson attended as a member of the International Council of Environmental Law delegation. The first IGC is generally viewed to have a positive outcome and detailed information about the sessions can be found in the summaries from Earth Negotiations Bulletin:  http://enb.iisd.org/oceans/bbnj/igc1/about.html

This is the start of a 2-year on-going process. The President of the IGC will draft 'a paper' (it will not be called a 'zero draft'), a draft text of the ILBI, by the end of February 2019.  The text may contain options, as requested by some of the delegations.  The 2nd IGC will take place from March 25 through April 4, 2019.  The 3rd IGC will take place from August 17 through 30th, 2019.

Vikki Gunn distributing ATLAS flyers at the IGC. © David Johnson