Innovative Session V

Tuesday, 7 September 2021
14:30 – 16:00 CEST

United Nations Negotiations for the Future of Marine Biodiversity. A Conversation among Academics and Practitioners on the BBNJ Negotiations

Alice Vadrot, Principle Investigator MARIPOLDATA, Department of Political Science, University of Vienna, Austria
Ina Tessnow-von Wysocki, PhD Student MARIPOLDATA, Department of Political Science, University of Vienna, Austria

Gabriele Goettsche-Wanli, Independent international lawyer, former Director of the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, United Nations
Dr. Leandra Goncalves,Oceanographic Institute of University of São Paulo
Dr. Harriet Harden-Davies, Australian Centre for Ocean Resources and Security (ANCORS)
Kahlil Hassanali, World Maritime University, Sweden
Julian Jackson, The Pew Charitable Trusts, UK
Dr. Elizabeth Mendenhall, University of Rhode Island, Departments of Marine Affairs and Political Science
Sophie, Mirgaux, Special Envoy for the Ocean for the Belgian Ministry of Environment
Prof. Murray Roberts, University of Edinburgh’s School of GeoSciences (Changing Oceans research group; ATLAS & iAtlantic projects)
Dr. Rachel Tiller, SINTEF Ocean AS, Climate and Environment Department, Norway
Prof. DG Webster, Dartmouth College, United States of America

Over one hundred governments have been negotiating a new legally binding instrument on high seas marine biodiversity. Formal intergovernmental negotiations for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ) started in 2018 and are – after almost two years of online intersessional period – to be finalized in 2022. The new treaty is expected to set new regulations for marine genetic resources, area-based management tools, including marine protected areas, environmental impact assessments and capacity building and the transfer of marine technology.

This innovative panel contributes to an inter- and transdisciplinary dialogue on the BBNJ negotiations by bringing together researchers and practitioners to discuss developments, results, and learnings of the negotiations. We invite scholars studying the BBNJ negotiations and the various actors, including national delegates, as well as representatives of intergovernmental- and non-governmental organizations that are participating in the negotiations to:
1) discuss the current stage of the BBNJ negotiations, the potential final agreement, and the role of the inter-sessional work;
2) share their expert knowledge and experiences on the current state and development of the BBNJ negotiations; and
3) reflect on new findings of BBNJ research and current political developments within the BBNJ process.

This innovative panel seeks to bring together the different groups engaging in the BBNJ process, including social and natural scientists researching on BBNJ, as well as practitioners who are actively engaged within the negotiation process. It provides an opportunity for fruitful exchange, different perspectives to existing research and new linkages of research findings among diverse disciplines.

Alice B. M. Vadrot is an associate professor for international relations and the environment in the Department of Political Science at the University of Vienna. She is the principal investigator of the European Research Council-funded project MARIPOLDATA, which combines ethnography, bibliometrics, and oral history to study the role of science and knowledge in marine biodiversity negotiations. She has published in Global Environmental Politics, Environmental Science and Policy, Critical Policy Studies, Marine Policy, and Frontiers in Marine Science. Her book The Politics of Knowledge and Global Biodiversity (2014) examines the establishment of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).

Ina Tessnow-von Wysocki is a PhD student in the ERC project MARIPOLDATA, at the University of Vienna, where she studies science–policy interfaces for ocean protection within the BBNJ negotiations. With her academic background in international relations and professional experience in climate and foreign policy with the German government, the GIZ, and NGOs, she specializes in international cooperation on environmental issues.

Leandra R. Gonçalves is Ph.D in International Relations at the Oceanographic Institute of University of São Paulo. She is currently also Professor at Interdisciplinary Postgraduate Program in Marine Science and Technology at UNIFESP and a research fellow in the Earth System Governance project. She co-leads the Earth System Governance project’s Ocean Governance Task Force, which seeks to address the daunting multi-level challenge of oceans governance in the Anthropocene. Her main research interests are: ocean and coastal governance, the interface between science and policy and the effectiveness of institutional arrangements towards ocean governance. She has also been involved in the Decade of Ocean Science process in Brazil and is a Lead Author at the United Nations Global Environmental Outlook.

Dr Harriet Harden-Davies is Nippon Foundation Ocean Nexus postdoctoral research fellow at the Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security, University of Wollongong. Her PhD and postdoctoral research focused on the BBNJ agreement, in particular the elements of capacity building, marine technology transfer, and marine genetic resources. She is a Guest Investigator at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, co-lead of the Deep Ocean Stewardship Initiative, and member of the UNESCO-IOC Group of Experts on Capacity Development and IOC-UNESCO Informal Working Group of Early Career Ocean Professionals. Her previous roles include Visiting Science Diplomacy Fellow at Tufts University, Consultant to the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, and Manager of Policy and Projects at the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering.

Elizabeth Mendenhall received her PhD in International Relations from Johns Hopkins University in 2017, and is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Marine Affairs at the University of Rhode Island, where she teaches “International Ocean Law” (graduate) and “International Politics of the Ocean” (undergraduate). Her research portfolio focuses on the progressive development of the ocean governance regime, especially the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and she has published on a wide range of topics including: the BBNJ negotiations, COVID-19 and cruise ships, fisheries conflict, island building, nuclear submarines, and marine plastic pollution.

Dr Georgios Kazanidis is a deep-sea biologist and currently serves as the Scientific Project Manager of the H2020 iAtlantic Project. His research work focuses on the ecology and conservation of deep-sea ecosystems, especially cold-water coral reefs and deep-sea sponge grounds. As part of his postdoctorate research in the H2020 ATLAS he developed models on the impacts of human activities and climate change on deep-sea ecosystems. He also co-led a group of experts facilitating the implementation of the EU’s Marine Strategy Framework Directive in the deep waters (>200 m depth) of the North Atlantic. His
vision is to provide robust scientific evidence across the science-policy-industry-society interface supporting sustainable ocean

Dr. Rachel Tiller is a Senior Research Scientist at the Department of Climate and Environment at SINTEF Ocean in Norway. She holds a PhD in Political Science from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), with a focus on marine and coastal interdisciplinary research at all levels of analysis, from local stakeholder perceptions to global governance agreements. Her expertise is in regime complex theory, orchestration, stakeholder co-production of knowledge, actor-driven future scenario building, science-policy interface and qualitative based/quantitative output methodologies including Serious Games, Conceptual Modeling, Fuzzy Cognitive Mapping and Bayesian Belief Networks. She was the Fulbright Arctic Chair of 2018-2019 at Texas A&M University and Rice University. She was also a Fulbright Scholar in 2011-2012 at the University of California, Santa Barbara’s Sustainable Fisheries Group. She has participated as an observer at the treaty negotiations towards an agreement on protection of biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ) since the first IGC in March 2018. She has published five peer reviewed articles, one book chapter and two proceedings on this specific process since that time.

D.G. Webster is an associate professor in the Environmental Studies Department at Dartmouth. Her main research interest is in understanding the complex dynamics of large-scale social-ecological systems (SESs). She is author of two books on international fisheries governance, multiple peer reviewed articles, and a number of successful interdisciplinary research proposals.

Gabriele Goettsche-Wanli worked in the United Nations on ocean issues for almost 30 years, including as Director of the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, Office of Legal Affairs. Since her retirement, she has moderated several informal dialogues among States and other stakeholders on BBNJ issues.

Kahlil Hassanali is a Trinidad and Tobago citizen, currently based in Malmö, Sweden, pursuing a PhD at the World Maritime University – Sasakawa Global Ocean Institute. His research is examining the inter-relationship between the BBNJ agreement and the blue economy of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). Kahlil also serves as a negotiator for CARICOM on EIAs in the BBNJ process.

Julian Jackson leads The Pew Charitable Trust’s high seas campaign in Europe. Formerly with the UK Government he worked on international agriculture and biodiversity policies, leading the UK’s delegation at FAO and CBD meetings. He has co-authored papers on genetic resource policy and is passionate about addressing climate change and biodiversity loss.

Sophie Mirgaux has been working on marine biodiversity and law of the sea issues for the Belgian Government since 2009. Her main focus has been on the BBNJ process, where she is part of the EU’s negotiation team; and the marine aspects of the Convention on Biological Diversity. Sophie contributes to Belgium’s efforts within the Blue Leaders 30×30 alliance, as well as the BBNJ High Seas Online Dialogues. Since 2019, she is Belgium’s Special Envoy for the Ocean.