Great hammerhead Credit: Jeremy Stafford-Deitsch
- 11-15 March 2013: IUCN-WCPA-SSC Workshop on Identification Criteria and Delineation of Sites Contributing Significantly to the Global Persistence of Biodiversity. Washington, USA.
- 8-12 April 2013: South-Eastern Atlantic Regional Workshop to Facilitate the Description of Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas (EBSAs). Swakopmund, Namibia.
- 6-7 May 2013: UN Intersessional Workshop on Biodiversity. New York, USA.
- 8-13 July 2013: FSBI Deep Sea Fish Biology Symposium. Glasgow, UK.
- 19-23 August 2013: 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. New York, USA.
- 14-18 October 2013: CBD SBSTTA 17. Montreal, Canada.
- 21-27 October 2013: 3rd International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC 3). Marseille, France.
- November 2012 (TBC): Global MPA Enforcement Conference (WildAid). San Francisco, USA.
- 8-19 October 2012: CBD COP XI:Eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity. Hyderabad, India.
- 6-15 September 2012: IUCN World Conservation Congress. Several Marine Biodiversity, Ocean Spatial Planning and MPAs sessions scheduled (TBC). Jeju, Korea.
- 20-22 June 2012: Rio +20 Earth Summit 2012. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
- 8 June 2012: World Ocean Day. Worldwide.
- 29 May - 1 June 2012: UN Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea - 13th meeting. New York, USA.
- 12 May - 12 August 2012: The 2012 Yeosu World Expo: “The Living Ocean and Coast.”: Pavilion on Ocean and Coast Best Practices. Yesou, Korea.
- 7-11 May 2012: BBNJ: 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 (biodiversity). New York, USA.
- 7 May 2012: GOBI 4th Advisory Board Meeting. New York, USA.
- 30 April - 4 May 2012: CBD: 16th meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA)
- 23-27 April 2012: UN GA: Ad Hoc Working Group of the Whole of the General Assembly on the Regular Process for global reporting and assessment of the state of the marine environment, including socio-economic aspects, Third meeting (Ad Hoc Working Group of the Whole on the Regular Process). New York, USA.
- 26-30 March 2012: Spatial management of pelagic ecosystems: visions for the future. EUR-OCEANS/AMPED workshop on quantitative assessment of pelagic MPAs (by invitation only). Sete, France.
- 26-27 March 2012: Rio +20: Earth Summit 2012. Third Intersessional Meeting of UNCSD, Preparatory of Rio +20. New York, USA.
- 28 February - 2 March 2012: CBD Greater Caribbean and Western Mid-Atlantic Regional Workshop to Facilitate the Description of Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas (EBSAs). Bahia, Brazil.
- 15-16 December 2011: Rio +20 Earth Summit 2012 Second Intersessional Meeting of UNCSD, Preparatory of Rio +20. New York, USA.
- 5-9 December 2011: 25th International Congress for Conservation Biology: Engaging Society in Conservation. Sky City Convention Center, Auckland, New Zealand.
- 2-5 December 2011: 2011 Marine Conservation Think Tank: "Big Ocean Network: A Research Agenda and Science Dissemination Strategy for Large-Scale MPAs". Sky City Convention Center, Auckland, New Zealand.
- 22-25 November 2011: CBD Western South Pacific Regional Workshop to Facilitate the Description of Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas (EBSAs). Nadi, Fiji.
- 7-11 November 2011: CBD 15th meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA). Montreal, Canada.
- 7-11 November 2011: Second International Conference on Marine Mammal Protected Areas (ICMMPA 2): "Endangered Spaces; Endangered Species" GOBI special session. Fort de France, La Martinique, France.
- 24-28 October 2011:
Seventh WIOMSA Scientific Symposium Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association, Mobasa, Kenya.
- 26-29 September 2011: World Conference on Marine Biodiversity, Aberdeen, UK
- 24-25 September 2011: GOBI Annual Meeting, Aberdeen, UK.
- 12-14 May 2011: International Marine Conservation Congress, Victoria BC, Canada.
- 17-21 February 2011: American Association for the Advancement of Science, Washington DC, USA.
Moon jellyfish in the moonlight Credit: Allison Finch/Marine Photobank
CBD 10th Conference of Parties (COP 10), Nagoya, Japan, 18-29 October 2010
The CBD COP 10 met in Nagoya to review the recommendations adopted at the CBD SBSTTA 14 in May 2010 and to adopt new resolutions. There, the work and importance of the Global Ocean Biodiversity Initiative as a scientific partner in helping to identify ecologically or biologically significant marine areas (EBSAs) beyond national jurisdiction was confirmed and GOBI received a mandate to:
1) "...Work with Parties, other Governments [...] and other relevant international scientific partnerships producing credible, quality-controlled scientific information [...] to facilitate availability and inter-operability of the best available marine and coastal biodiversity data sets and information across global, regional and national scales" (agenda item 5.2, para. 35);
2) "...[collaborate] with Parties and other Governments [...] and other competent organisations [...] to establish a repository for scientific criteria on the identification of EBSAs in annex I of decision IX/20, as well as other relevant compatible and complementary nationally and intergovernmentally agreed scientific criteria that shares information and harmonizes with similar initiatives, and to develop an information-sharing mechanism with similar initiatives, such as FAO's work on vulnerable marine ecosystems (VMEs) (agenda item 5.2, para. 39).
Furthermore, the work of two GOBI partners, the Census of Marine Life and the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS), was also recognised and parties, other governments and organisations were requested to further enhance globally networked scientific efforts, to continue to update a global database of all forms of marine life and further assess and map the distribution and abundance of marine species.
The Global Ocean Biodiversity Initiative hosted a side event at this meeting to present GOBI's work as well as tools and resources developed by GOBI in the process of identifying ecologically or biologically significant marine areas (EBSAs). GOBI also launched its Candidate EBSAs Submission Tool, which can be found under: www.gobi.org/candidate-ebsas
See conference website: www.cbd.int/cop10/
GOBI Science Board meetings
GOBI Science Board Meeting, Gland , Switzerland, 12-14 July 2010
The purpose of this meeting is to assess the overall GOBI strategy, review progress reports by the working groups and task forces; define specific commitments of GOBI for CBD's COP 10 in October 2010 and further work in support of the 2012 goals and deadlines, particularly the establishment of representative marine protected area networks, projecting in this way GOBI's future beyond 2012.
GOBI Technical Planning Workshop, Cambridge, UK, 14-17 January 2010
The purpose of this workshop was to agree to technical measures necessary to identify in 2010 an initial set of areas on the high seas that could meet the Convention on Biological Diversity’s (CBD) ecologically and biologically significant areas (EBSA) criteria and to plan further collaborative activities towards 2012.
GOBI Advisory Board meetings
GOBI Advisory Board Meeting, New York, USA, 1 December 2010
The GOBI Advisory Board met in New York, USA, on 1 February 2010.
Other relevant meetings
UN 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, New York, USA, 1-5 February 2010
This Working Group addressed three agenda items:
Examination of the scientific, technical, economic, legal, environmental, socio-economic and other aspects of the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction, including activities of the United Nations and other relevant international organisations;
Indication, where appropriate, of possible options and approaches to promote international cooperation and coordination for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction;
Identification of key issues and questions where more detailed background studies would facilitate consideration by States of these issues
The Global Ocean Biodiversity Initiative hosted a side event at this meeting which gave an overview of the CBD Scientific Expert Ottawa Workshop outcomes, the science and international collaboration behind GOBI and the Census of Marine Life, as well as the existing frameworks for the high seas.
American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Meeting, San Diego, USA, 19-22 February 2010
Global Oceans Conference, Paris, France, 3-7 May 2010
Marine Geological and Biological Habitat Mapping (GeoHab), Wellington, New Zealand, 4-7 May 2010
By Piers Dunstan, CSIRO
The theme for GeoHab 2010 was "Characterisation, quantification and diversity of extreme habitats". Presentations covered a range of topics including canyon systems, video monitoring and the links between geology and biology.
The conference was attended by GOBI partners from MCBI, CenSeam and CSIRO who presented on a range of topics, including seamounts, cold water corals, marine protected area planning and analysis of biodiversity. There was the opportunity for members of the benthic working group to have an initial meeting to discuss how ecologically or biologically significant areas (EBSAs) might be identified in the benthic realm. The discussion was on data needs and availability, problems with rarity and the use of predictive modelling.
See conference website: http://geohab2010.com/
14th Meeting of the CBD Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA 14), Nairobi, Kenya, 10-21 May 2010
The CBD SBSTTA 14 met in Nairobi to prepare recommendations for the tenth CBD Conference of Parties (COP 10) that will take place in Nagoya, Japan, in October 2010.
The Global Ocean Biodiversity Initiative was recognised as an important scientific partner in helping to identify ecologically or biologically significant areas (EBSAs) in areas beyond national jurisdiction. GOBI was asked to help the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity to outline a process for creating and maintaining a CBD global inventory of EBSAs in marine areas beyond national jurisdiction. This recommendation and the others decided at SBSTTA 14 will need to be adopted at COP 10 in October 2010.
Following the discussions, SBSTTA invites member parties, other governments and relevant organisations to use the scientific guidance for the use of biogeographic classification systems (Decision XIV/3.22) and the identification of EBSAs (Decision XIV/3.23), encourages them to cooperate to identify and protect EBSAs in marine areas beyond national jurisdiction (Decision XIV/3.24) and proposes to outline a process for creating and maintaining a global inventory of EBSAs for marine areas beyond national jurisdiction and to begin provisionally to populate such an inventory, with the help of relevant organisations and the Global Ocean Biodiversity Initiative (Decision XIV/3.26). Member parties are also invited to identify EBSAs within their jurisdiction and notify them to the global inventory (Decision XIV/3.28).
The work of two GOBI partners, the Census of Marine Life and the Ocean Biogeographic Information System, was also recognised and parties, other governments and organisations were requested to further enhance globally networked scientific efforts, to continue to update a global database of all forms of marine life and further assess and map the distribution and abundance of marine species (Decision XIV/3.9).
See conference website: www.cbd.int/sbstta14/
Deep-Sea Biology Symposium, Reykjavik, Iceland, 7-11 June 2010
By Ashley Rowden, CenSeam
The 12th International Deep-Sea Biology Symposium (DSBS) was held in Reykjavik in Iceland (7-11 June 2010). Around 300 participants from across the globe attended the meeting, where presentations were made on a broad range of topics.
No talks were given specifically on identifying ecologically or biologically significant areas (EBSAs), nor consider the application of the other CBD criteria for selecting marine protected areas in open ocean waters and deep-sea habitats. However, some talks did present data that could be useful for future identification of EBSAs in large ocean areas. These include presentations that assessed the number and distribution of human activities in the North-East Atlantic (naturalness), the distribution of brittlestar diversity in the South-West Pacific (biological diversity), the global distribution of a type of canyon in which benthic production has been found to be extremely high (biological productivity), and the global distribution of vulnerable seamounts (vulnerability, fragility, sensitivity, or slow recovery). The next Deep-Sea Biology Symposium will be held in New Zealand in 2013.
See conference website: http://12dsbs.hi.is/
Sustainable Ocean Summit, Belfast, Northern Ireland, 15-17 June 2010
By Patrick Halpin, MGEL
GOBI scientists Louisa Wood (UNEP-WCMC) and Pat Halpin (MGEL) both participated in the Sustainable Oceans Summit held in Belfast, Northern Ireland, June 15-17, 2010. This meeting was sponsored by the World Ocean Council and brought together a wide range of ocean industry groups including representatives from the shipping, oil and gas, fisheries, aquaculture, ports, mining, insurance, law, finance, renewable energy, tourism, dredging, marine technology and other industries together to discuss cross-sectoral issues of ocean sustainability.
In addition to the main conference event, a half-day workshop on Marine Spatial Planning: What Ocean Industries Need to Know was held at the conclusion of the meeting. Wood and Halpin acted as panellists for the Marine Spatial Planning: Information Systems, Tools and Approaches panel and provided presentations related to information needs for conducting future marine spatial planning in the open ocean environment. This panel provided a high visibility platform to introduce the role of GOBI to the ocean industry community. Wood highlighted the specific role of WCMC to meet global ocean information needs and Halpin highlighted the roles of OBIS and OBIS-SEAMAP in this context. The ocean industry audience was very engaged and especially interested in ocean planning activities that lowered risk and provided more stable long-term planning horizons.
See conference website: www.oceancouncil.org/site/summit/index.php?page=overview
Marine World Heritage Meeting, Isle of Vilm, Germany, 30 June-3 July 2010
By Jeff Ardron, MCBI
GOBI attended a recent workshop, 30 June to 3 July, examining the progress of World Heritage designations as applied to the marine environment. Its location on the German Isle of Vilm, on the Baltic Sea, provided the perfect setting for this retreat and its intensive agenda that always went into the night.
Marine conservation design has advanced a fair bit since 1972 when the World Heritage Convention was adopted. We outlined the skeleton for a "Thematic Study" that will be completed by IUCN for the World Heritage Marine (WH) Programme in the spring of 2011. At the workshop, it was agreed that CBD EBSA (ecologicall or biologically significant area) criteria and the CBD MPA network provide a solid place from which to consider the WH Convention.
Patricio Bernal (IUCN) presented on GOBI, and our role in supporting the identification of EBSAs, which was well received. Jeff Ardron (MCBI) presented on the CBD criteria, lessons learned in the North-East Atlantic, and on high seas protection. The high seas discussion on the last day was lively. From my perspective, here were the general points of discussion:
The High Seas is important and has features that prima facie clearly fit the "spirit" of the WH Convention;
A legal opinion on the above point could be helpful in future discussions;
Implementation:to date, the WH has not been applied in the high seas;
Reluctance: there was some reluctance to go too far down this road, as that we are still working to get marine WH in order within national jurisdictions; however, many other people were enthusiastic;
Spanning national and international: it was agreed that there could be features that fall within national jurisdiction that also extend into high seas (e.g. Sargasso Sea), and that to preserve their integrity (a WH criterion), would mean also protecting the high seas portion;
Ease into the high seas: the above special trans-boundary case had a great degree of support, and there appeared to be consensus that this would be the best way to introduce high seas protection within WH.
On a sadder note, WH sites, like other marine protected areas, cannot be protected from all eventualities. For example, the reefs at Lord Howe Island, about 370 miles off the east coast of Australia, which are a WH Site for their unique beauty and biodiversity, have this year been hit by its largest ever recorded coral bleaching event. One can only hope that their protection has provided the resilience necessary for them to rebound.
UNICPOLOS, New York, USA, 21-25 June 2010
By Colleen Corrigan, UNEP-WCMC
Two members from GOBI's team participated in the 11th United Nations Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and Law of the Sea, where an IUCN-sponsored side event was held on June 21, 2010. The emphasis of the side event was to share insights regarding marine spatial planning as a tool to achieve ecosystem-based management.
Presentations from The Nature Conservancy, IUCN, The Census of Marine Life and the UNEP-World Conservation Monitoring Centre identified opportunities for capacity building both within coastal areas and in the open ocean and deep sea. GOBI presented examples from its range of activities that are focused on building capacity regionally and globally through the development of an interactive website, data viewing tools, and guidance documents. Participants included representatives from governments, NGOs and academic institutions who were interested in learning more about existing activities and particularly about how to access oceanographic, biological and socio-economic data, how to increase transparency for those institutions who manage it, and how to best influence decisions through the science we are conducting. GOBI will continue to further its work on capacity building through concerted efforts at regional meetings, training workshops, and in particular following the COP 10 meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity in October 2010.
International Congress for Conservation Biology, Edmonton, Canada, 3-7 July 2010
By Autumn-Lynn Harrison, University of California Santa Cruz/TOPP
The International Congress for Conservation Biology (ICCB), hosted by the Society for Conservation Biology (SCB), is recognised as the most important international meeting for conservation professionals and students. The 24th ICCB, held in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, 3-7 July, gathered nearly 1,400 individuals to address conservation challenges, and to discuss new research and developments in conservation science and practice.
One symposium, one workshop, and one contributed session each focused on the road to 2010 and 2012: The Convention on Biological Diversity. The SCB Marine Section guaranteed that marine topics were represented, and the meeting theme: Conservation for a Changing Planet, couldn't have been more timely for GOBI. Autumn-Lynn Harrison, representing GOBI, presented TOPP's work in mapping predator use of the high seas and introduced GOBI to the audience. The presentation led to the addition of the high seas as an issue in an upcoming SCB-sponsored global "Marine Think Tank" to be held directly prior to ICCB 2011 in New Zealand (29 November-3 December 2011).
The SCB Marine Section is also gearing up for their second International Marine Conservation Congress, to be held 14-18 May, 2011 in Victoria, BC, Canada. All GOBI members are encouraged to attend, and to ensure the high seas are a strong thread of the Congress.
See conference website: www.conbio.org/2010
Australian Marine Science Association, Wollongong, Australia, 4-8 July 2010
By Piers Dunstan, CSIRO
The annual conference of the Australian Marine Science Association was held in Wollongong, Australia, in July 2010. The conference included a symposia "Marine Biodiversity Symposium: 2010 International Year of Biodiversity" with a keynote address by Professor Ian Poiner, Chair of the Census of Marine Life International Scientific Steering Committee and CEO of the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS).
Professor Poiner highlighted many of the discoveries that have come from the Census of Marine Life and how these have increased our understanding of the marine systems and their management. The symposia included examples of historical biogeography and evolution, the development of new methods to characterise and describe different aspects of biodiversity and applications of biodiversity research to planning and management. It highlighted the links and synergies in research across all realms of biodiversity research.
Conference website: http://amsa.asn.au/conference/conf2010/index.htlm
Annual Hawai'i Conservation Conference,
Honolulu, Hawai'i, 4-6 August 2010
European Marine Biology Symposium, Edinburgh, UK, 23-27 August 2010
By Malcolm Clark, CenSeam
The 45th European Marine Biology Symposium (EMBS) was held at Heriot-Watt University just outside of Edinburgh, Scotland (23-27 August 2010). There were about 200 participants at this highly diverse meeting, which included sessions on marine disease, biotechnology, renewable energy, climate change, invasive organisms, seamounts and conservation.
The sessions on Seamounts and Marine Conservation had several papers that were of interest and relevance to GOBI. The UK is actively pursuing a programme to establish a deep-sea marine protected area network. Some of the background to this, and research being done to support it, were described by speakers from the Joint Nature Conservation Council and University of Plymouth. The emphasis is on identifying areas of coral and sponge, which can be recommended as Special Areas of Conservation (SACs), and recent surveys have been carried out on Rockall Bank and Anton Dohrn Seamount. Actual survey work complements a broader benthic classification scheme which has described over 50 "biotops", a study on the effectiveness of using predictive species distribution modelling to identify "proxy areas", and modelling which combines physical, oceanographic and biological data to predict the distribution of biotopes.
The session on Seamounts also had to presentations which summarised the key results from the last 5 years of research by CenSeam (the Census of Marine Life on Seamounts programme of CoML).
Conference website: www.sls.hw.ac.uk/EMBS2010/
Ocean Conference, San Francisco, USA, 7-10 September 2010
World Seabird Conference, Victoria, Canada, 7-11 September 2010
By Ben Lascelles, BirdLife International
The first World Seabird Conference was held in Victoria, Canada, 7-10 September 2010. It was the largest event ever held to focus on marine birds, with over 800 participants from more than 40 countries giving 700 oral and poster presentations covering all aspects of seabird science and conservation. The conference opened with a pre-recorded welcome address from HRH the Prince of Wales, encouraging all delegated to work for the conservation of seabirds.
The World Seabird Conference was acclaimed as an outstanding success, providing an unrivalled review of all recent, current and prospective research on seabirds with a particular focus on potential applications to management and conservation.
Workshops and symposium identified the urgent need to use all available data on seabird distribution to contribute to the identification of candidate sites for marine protected areas (and for best-practice marine-managed areas) both within national Economic Exclusive Zones (EEZs) and especially on the high seas (Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction - ABNJs). Ensuring that sites/areas for seabirds are well represented within proposed candidate Ecologically or Biologically Significant Areas (EBSAs) under the Convention on Biological Diversity will be vital.
Conference website: www.worldseabirdconference.com/
Census of Marine Life Press Briefing, London, UK, 4 October 2010
Spotted seal Credit: Konstantin Tkachenko/Marine Photobank
GOBI Science Board meetings
GOBI Science Board Meeting, Duke University, USA , 29 June to 2 July 2009
The objective of this scientific collaboration meeting was to develop illustrations of the criteria defining ecologically or biologically significant areas (EBSAs) in deep seas and open oceans. The meeting sought to assist the CBD Secretariat in preparing for the CBD Scientific Expert Workshop which took place in Ottawa, Canada, from 29 September to 2 October 2009. Additionally, the meeting put in place collaborative arrangements to engage scientists in providing comments and practical advice on applying the scientific criteria for selecting EBSAs. The meeting also agreed a time-table for developing illustrations of how individual EBSA criteria can be interpreted and mapped.
GOBI Advisory Board meetings
The GOBI Advisory Board met in Berlin, Germany, between 27 and 28 August 2009.
Other relevant meetings
CBD Expert Workshop on Scientific and Technical Guidance on the Use of Biogeographic Classification Systems and Identification of Marine Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction in Need of Protection, Ottawa, Canada, 29 September to 2 October 2009
This CBD Scientific Expert Workshop addressed three agenda items:
- Review and synthesis of progress on the identification of areas beyond national jurisdiction, which meet the scientific criteria in Annex I to Decision IX/20
- Review and synthesis of experience with the use of biogeographic classification systems, as referred to in paragraph 19 of Decision IX/20
- Development of scientific and technical guidance on the use and further development of biogeographic classification systems, and guidance on the identification of marine areas beyond national jurisdiction, which meet the scientific criteria in Annex I to Decision IX/20
Key observations from the workshop include:
- Lessons learned: There has been substantial experience at the national and regional level with the application of some or all of the criteria for identification of ecologically or biologically significant areas for multiple uses, including protection, which can be drawn upon in developing guidance on the application of the CBD EBSA criteria;
- Identification vs. management responses: The process of identification of CBD EBSAs is understood to be separate from the processes which decide on the policy and management responses that are appropriate for providing the desired level of protection to those areas;
- Relevant Information: Application of the criteria should use all the information that is available, including traditional knowledge, knowledge gained by life experience of ocean users as well as modelling approaches that can extrapolate data from one area to another less-studied area. All information should be subject to quality assurance methods, and the application of the criteria needs to be reviewed periodically, as new information becomes available.
- Data limitations: While there is likely to be less information on marine areas beyond national jurisdiction than closer to shore, challenges due to data limitations may be addressed through a range of scientific, information, tools and resources. A lack of information should not be used as a reason to defer actions to apply the criteria to the best information that is available.
- Ecological connectivities: Application of the criteria should consider both the benthic and pelagic systems separately and as an interacting system. Ecological connections within and beyond national jurisdiction should also be considered.
- Regional efforts: There is a need to promote focused regional efforts, including regional workshops, in order to enhance and harmonise the application of CBD EBSA criteria.
The scientific and technical guidance resulting from this workshop will be submitted to the UN Working Group on Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction in February 2010, to the fourteenth meeting of the CBD Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA 14) in May 2010 and to the CBD tenth Conference of the Parties (COP 10) in October 2010 for review and potential adoption.
See meeting report