This section of the paper will elaborate the efforts that have been made at an international level within legal discourse as well as the practical manner for the protection of marine biodiversity in "areas beyond national jurisdictions" (ABNJ), alongside the underlying challenges and gaps that are present in the implementation of such efforts.
The UNCLOS provides regulatory policies not only for territorial seas but also for the marine ABNJ. (310) It endorses the ABNJ as an inherited property of the whole of humanity and therefore no single nation or state has ownership of the ABNJ and their resources.
Article 87 of the UNCLOS endorses the marine ABNJ as the common property of all countries, including those countries that are not connected to the sea, which implies that the ABNJ is not the property of one or more states.
Fortunately, there is also greater emphasis nowadays on complex international ocean governance issues in order to develop a robust and agreed legal basis for regulating access to and utilization of resources from ABNJ, whether from the water column (High Seas) or the seabed and subsoil (The Area).
Interestingly, technological development and commercial prime movers are outstripping the pace of ocean governance discussions which is a cause for concern as it inevitably increases risks for conflict at sea.The potential for a brewing crisis in ABNJ can be gauged from the fact that China has recently planned to set up an 'International Maritime Judicial Centre' to help protect its sovereignty and rights at sea.
Given time and resource constraints, as well as the assessment being the first of its kind to examine governance arrangements across all trans-boundary water bodies, the objectives of the governance assessment for both LMEs and the ABNJ focused on the architecture or structure of the governance arrangements in place to address the above-mentioned trans-boundary issues (Fanning et al.
(2015), that despite their current deficiencies, regional clusters could have a potentially important role in implementing EBM in their respective regions, including for ABNJ, if their mandates were extended.
As the ISA's regulatory reach extends only to the seabed beyond national jurisdictions, (the ABNJ
), the authority has been working closely with countries such as Papua New Guinea and specifically with Nautilus Minerals to offer guidance and to better understand the implications of mining.