International Waters

Governance Challenges, Gaps and Management Opportunities in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction

This STAP information paper synthesizes the regulatory and legal frameworks of UNCLOS. It encourages the GEF to support actions that account for the diversity of ecosystem services that ABNJ provides to regulating the climate, maintaining and enhancing marine biodiversity, and supporting local livelihoods. Integrated spatial planning and other tools, or approaches, can help support future actions on ABNJ while strengthening governance arrangements that can address future risks and environmental challenges not aptly covered by current laws and institutional policies.

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Governing and Managing Key Flows in a Source-To-Sea (S2S) Continuum

An S2S system includes the land area that is drained by a river system or systems, its lakes and tributaries (the river basin), connected aquifers and downstream recipients including deltas and estuaries, coastlines and near-shore waters, the adjoining sea and continental shelf as well as the open ocean. Water, sediment, pollutants, biota, materials, and ecosystem services key flows connect the sub-systems in the source-to-sea continuum and their geographies.

An S2S approach consolidates analysis, planning, policy-making, and decision-making across sectors and scales. It considers the entire social, ecological, and economic system, from the land area that is drained by a river system to the coastal area and even the open ocean it flows into.

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Governance Challenges, Gaps and Management Opportunities in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ)

The objective of this study is to provide a comprehensive review of the current regulatory landscape of the ocean areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ). Outcomes of the study will support the GEF partnership and states to consider new programs and develop activities that provide an overall net benefit to the global environment in ABNJ in the upcoming GEF 7 program.

What Do We Mean by ABNJ?:
The term ‘areas beyond national jurisdiction’ refers to areas which are beyond the boundaries of any single state. Areas beyond national jurisdiction comprise 64% of the oceans’ surface and represent a global commons which contain ecosystems rich with marine resources and biodiversity of significant ecological, socioeconomic, and cultural importance.

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The Political Economy of Regionalism: The Relevance for International Waters and the Global Environment Facility

Most freshwater and marine systems are transboundary in nature and therefore depend on sound regionalism and regional governance. The way these transboundary water systems are governed and managed is of vital importance for economic and social development, food security, biodiversity conservation, and the sustainable use and maintenance of ecosystem services. Yet there is little systematic knowledge about how transboundary water management systems are affected by regionalism and regional organizations. This STAP Publication on The Political Economy of Regionalism provides the context and analytical tools needed to understand contemporary regionalism and regional organizations from a global and political economy perspective. It reports on the results of an extensive desk-study of the GEF International Waters (IW) portfolio to assess each project’s relation to regional cooperation and the extent to which it met its design objectives. It concludes with recommendations to the GEF to 1) engage more fully with stakeholders to synchronize national and regional concerns, incentives and benefits, 2) assess what regional institutional frameworks are most effective for delivering GEBs, and 3) to consider more fully the regional and economic context, including the logic of recipient country-led regional organizations, during the design of IW interventions and projects. Publication Date:  April 2014 Authors: Fredrik Söderbaum, Jakob Granit. DOWNLOAD

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Impacts of Marine Debris on Biodiversity: Current Status and Potential Solutions

Large quantities of debris can now be found in the most remote places of the ocean, and persist almost indefinitely in the environment. This represents a significant cause for concern, although much of this growing threat to biodiversity and human health is easily preventable with solutions readily available. The global impacts of marine debris on biodiversity and the urgency of action to prevent and mitigate adverse impacts were recognized by the latest meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice to the Convention on Biological Diversity. This lead to the adoption of several recommendations addressing the impacts of marine debris on marine and coastal biodiversity (CBD SBSTTA 16 Recommendation XVI/5), in line with the current efforts of Parties in achieving Aichi Biodiversity Targets on marine and coastal biodiversity, in particular Targets 6, 8 and 11.

Publication Date: October 2012 Authors: Richard C. Thompson, Sarah C. Gall and Duncan Bury DOWNLOAD

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Marine Spatial Planning in the Context of the Convention on Biological Diversity

Area-based planning and management processes have been important environmental and resources management tools for many decades. They provide effective frameworks to consider environmental, social, cultural, institutional, and economic variables within a common bio-geographic context – bringing what are at times competing interests together to form a common management vision. Marine spatial planning represents an important step to improving collaboration amongst multiple users of the marine environment towards a shared vision and outcomes. Understanding successes and challenges in marine spatial planning and scaling up these experiences to large marine areas and trans-boundary regions are therefore essential to effective achievement of the Aichi targets on marine and coastal biodiversity. As such, the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, in its tenth meeting, requested the Executive Secretary to compile and synthesize available information in collaboration with Parties, other Governments and relevant organizations on their experiences and use of marine spatial planning, in particular on ecological, economic, social, cultural and other principles used to guide such planning and the use of areabased management tools. In response to this request, the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel of the Global Environment Facility prepared this publication in collaboration with the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity. Publication Date: October 2012 Authors: Tundi Agardy, Patrick Christie and Eugene Nixon DOWNLOAD

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Marine Debris as a Global Environmental Problem

Introducing a solutions based framework focused on plastic. Being confronted by the sight of debris littering the shores of otherwise beautiful and pristine isolated oceanic islands pushes home the cold realization that this world is both immensely rich in diversity, scenery, and sounds, as well as small when the visible products of mankind’s industry are present far from their source, having travelled great distances on ocean currents. The worlds’ oceans are vast, immensely powerful, but highly sensitive all at the same time. Having to cope with increasing uses from a variety of sources such as extractive industries, together with climate change, acidification, hypoxia, and chemical pollution, increasingly our oceans and seas are also absorbing an ever increasing volume of marine debris. The conflagration of threats and pressures are increasingly depleting the capacity of the world’s oceans to absorb it all. Understanding that marine environments are responsible for many crucial global ecological services, together with other threats the presence of marine debris in the ocean is therefore a grave cause for concern. Given that individual materials found in marine debris may remain largely unchanged for hundreds of years, combined with the ever increasing production and use of such objects, it becomes increasingly obvious that continuing with present patterns of consumption and management of these materials and processes that produce them is unsustainable and needs urgent intervention. Publication Date: November 2011 Authors: Richard C. Thompson, Bruce E. La Belle, Hindrik Bouwman and Lev Neretin DOWNLOAD

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Hypoxia and Nutrient Reduction in the Coastal Zone

Advice for Prevention, Remediation and Research Reported cases of coastal hypoxia or low oxygen areas have doubled in each of the last four decades, threatening global environment benefits in most of the Large Marine Ecosystems (LMEs) in which GEF supports programs. GEF requested STAP to review the scientific evidence on coastal hypoxia and advise how to address the issue, beyond current actions. This STAP Advisory Document is based on a review of the scientific evidence, and scientific and management expert consultations. It has been reviewed by subject matter experts, the GEF Secretariat, the GEF International Waters Task Force and GEF agencies. STAP concludes that the growing problem of coastal hypoxia requires accelerated GEF attention.

Publication Date: September 2011 Authors: Meryl Williams and Nicole Harper DOWNLOAD

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STAP Screen - 3559

Title: Strategic Partnership for a Sustainable Fisheries Investment Fund in the Large Marine Ecosystems of Sub-Saharan Africa (Tranche 1, Installment 2)


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Blake Ratner

Dr. Blake Ratner is Executive Director, Collaborating for Resilience—a cross-regional, non-profit initiative working to address environmental resource competition and strengthen governance and livelihood resilience in interconnected resource domains and landscapes. An environmental sociologist (Ph.D., Cornell University), he has published widely on rights, equity, accountability and institutional innovation in environmental decision-making, drawing on insights from action research to inform both policy and practice. Blake has led programs in South and Souteast Asia and East Africa to strengthen capacity to manage resource competition and is partnering to build a global community of practice on multi-stakeholder platforms for people-centered land governance. Blake is the immediate past Director General of WorldFish, part of CGIAR, the global partnership for a food secure future. As a member of the Scientific and Techncial Advisory Panel of the Global Environment Facility, he has responsibility as adviser on international waters, comprising both marine and freshwater systems, and works across focal areas on integrated approaches to achieve transformational change and enhance environmental security at scale.



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