For the 60% of the ocean that lies in areas beyond national jurisdiction, the development of a new international agreement for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity is poised to commence under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (BBNJ – Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction). Science, technology and innovation cross-cut the BBNJ agreement. DOSI will provide a platform for science-policy engagement in the development of the BBNJ agreement.

The aim of the BBNJ working group is to facilitate the provision of scientific and technical information to the United Nations process to develop a new international legally binding instrument for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction.

The working group objectives are to:

  1. Synthesise scientific knowledge relating to the conservation and sustainable use of BBNJ and identify key issues for the BBNJ instrument (i.e. area-based management tools, environmental impact assessments, marine genetic resources, capacity building and technology transfer);
  2. Publish open-access academic papers, policy briefs and educational materials on key issues for BBNJ and provide input to the BBNJ negotiation process through submissions, workshops and engagement; and
  3. Provide a focal point for scientific expertise and network engagement on BBNJ issues and a platform for collaboration between scientists and other stakeholders (including engaging with the scientific community, governments and other stakeholders at workshops and meetings and at the UN intergovernmental negotiating conference).

Current Working Group Activities:

In advance of the second session of the intergovernmental negotiating conference to be held in March 2019, DOSI is busy writing further science policy briefs and preparing for the meeting.


Recent Working Group Activities:

September 2018 saw the first session of the intergovernmental negotiating conference and DOSI facilitated scientific and technical input to the development of the BBNJ instrument. As BBNJ issues cut across a number of working group areas – the role of this working group is to facilitate coordination and engagement across all DOSI areas.

The first session of the negotiations for BBNJ commenced on 4 September at the UN in New York.

Many DOSI BBNJ members showed great enthusiasm and efforts in contributing to the preparations. As a result, DOSI was highly visible during the IGC:


April 2018: BBNJ WG workshop 5-6 April 2018, University of Southampton, UK – Science diplomacy for stewardship: advancing science-based policy for biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction through the Deep Ocean Stewardship Initiative (DOSI). Link to Report.
Participants of DOSI BBNJ workshop, Southampton April 2018
Paul Snelgrove presents major science questions on behalf of DOSI BBNJ working group

Paul Snelgrove attended BBNJ ICG and presented on behalf of DOSI BBNJ working group during a side-event with the IOC, Belgium and Nauru entitled The potential interlinkages between the UN Ocean Science Decade and scientific aspects in the context of BBNJ in April 2018.

Harriet Harden-Davies (University of Wollongong, Australia –  co-leads this working group with Paul Snelgrove (Memorial University, Canada) and Jefferey Marlow (Harvard University, USA)