Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction

Marine Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ), which comprise 64% of the oceans, are facing increasing threats from unsustainable human activities, including pollution, destructive fishing practices, and irresponsible scientific research practices. The existing ABNJ management framework is largely sectoral and implemented by different global and regional institutions, highlighting the urgent need for integrated, ecosystem-based management of ABNJ to protect marine ecosystems and biodiversity, and to sustainably utilize resources in these areas to achieve socio-economic benefits while avoiding adverse environmental impacts.

The Global Ocean Forum recognizes the importance of moving towards consensus on ABNJ issues to address growing concerns and has undertaken much work on this topic with the intent of contributing to ongoing formal and informal processes addressing this topic. Since 2005, the Global Ocean Forum has been engaged in an informal process to bring together major relevant interests to facilitate open and constructive multi-stakeholder policy dialogue to inform and support the formal processes that have been or may be established by the United Nations General Assembly regarding governance of marine ABNJ. The general intent is to work to clarify the issues, lay out various perspectives, discuss options, and identify possible avenues for consensus-building among disparate interests.

For more information on the Global Ocean Forum’s work on Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction, please click here.

Cross-sectoral Capacity Development Project (in preparation)

ABNJ Capacity Project

The GEF/FAO program on Global Sustainable Fisheries Management and Biodiversity Conservation in the Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction Program (Common Oceans Program) was initiated to bring about improvement in the management and conservation of tuna and deep-sea fisheries resources and biodiversity in ABNJ, in order to achieve global targets and goals. The Common Oceans Program connects a variety of partners from governments, regional management bodies, civil society, the private sector, academia and industry to reach a common goal of sustainable use and conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services of ABNJ.

One of the four projects under the Common Oceans Program, the GEF/FAO/GOF project on Strengthening Global Capacity to Effectively Manage Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ Capacity Project) aims to facilitate global and regional cross-sectoral policy dialogue and coordination, improve knowledge management and outreach, and contribute to increased capacity for decision-making at various levels of ABNJ management. The Global Ocean Forum and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) are the co-executing agencies of the project.

See ABNJ Capacity Project synopsis here.

ABNJ Workshop

On 17-20 February 2015, the Global Ocean Forum and FAO co-organized a Workshop on Linking Global and Regional Levels in the Management of Marine Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction at FAO headquarters in Rome, with funding support from the Global Environment Facility (GEF). The workshop was conducted in collaboration with the project partners of the ABNJ Capacity Project. Over one hundred participants convened for an open and constructive policy dialogue for supporting national, regional, and global processes in place (formal and informal) in enhancing ecosystem approaches to the management of ABNJ.

ABNJ Regional Leaders Program

As part of the ABNJ Capacity Project, GOF has developed an ABNJ Regional Leaders Program to strengthen the capacity of leaders from developing countries and small island developing States (SIDS) at the regional and national levels to better address ABNJ resources and issues and to more effectively participate in global and regional ABNJ discussions. The first session of the ABNJ Regional Leaders Program was held on 15-21 January 2015 at the United Nations in New York.

ABNJ Regional Leaders Program Flyer

ABNJ Regional Leaders Program Participants – January 2015

ABNJ Regional Leaders Program – Introductory Course Content

ABNJ Regional Leaders Full Reading List

– Presentations by Regional Leaders at the BBNJ 9 Side Event


Coral Triangle

Latin America and the Caribbean

Pacific Islands

 – Presentations by Regional Leaders of their Regional/National Experiences 

Abidjan – Bamba

Brazil – Polejack


Coral Triangle – Siry

Mauritius – Badal

Namibia – Ambabi

Seychelles – Quatre

SPREP – Donoghue

Tanzania – Mtui

WECAFC – van Anrooy

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