Marine biological diversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction
09 September 2014
1. The variability among living organisms
and the ecological complexes of which they are part makes up biodiversity.
Biodiversity includes the diversity within species, between species and of
ecosystems (Convention on Biological Diversity, article 2). Marine biodiversity
is vitally important for human well-being as it underpins a wide range of
ecosystem services on which life depends.
2. In recent years, the international
community has become increasingly aware of the range of services provided by
marine ecosystems and of the rich biodiversity of pelagic and benthic ecosystems
beyond the limits of national jurisdiction, namely in the high seas and the
Area. The high seas are all parts of the sea that are not included in the
exclusive economic zone, in the territorial sea or in the internal waters of a
State, or in the archipelagic waters of an archipelagic State, according to
the United Nations Convention on the Law of the
Sea –“UNCLOS” (article 86). The
Area is the seabed and ocean floor and subsoil thereof, beyond the limits of
national jurisdiction (UNCLOS, article 1).
3. The Division for Ocean Affairs and the
Law of the Sea, Office of Legal Affairs, as the secretariat of UNCLOS and the
substantive entity servicing the General Assembly in its consideration of the
law of the sea and ocean affairs, has a mandate to provide a range of legal and
technical services, such as information, advice and assistance as well as
conducting research and preparing studies with a view to promoting a better
understanding of UNCLOS and the implementing Agreements, their wider acceptance,
uniform and consistent application and effective implementation, including in
relation to marine biodiversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction.
4. The present page provides information on
environmental, scientific and technological aspects
and socio-economic aspects
legal and policy
framework, in particular the work of the General Assembly
cooperation and coordination within the United Nations system.
Links to other relevant information