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Marine Biodiversity Negotiations During COVID-19: A New Role for Digital Diplomacy?

Vadrot, Alice B.M. Langlet, Arne. Tessnow-von Wysocki, Ina. Tolochko, Petro. Brogat, Emmanuelle. and Ruiz-Rodríguez, Silvia C. 2021. Marine Biodiversity Negotiations During COVID-19: A New Role for Digital Diplomacy?. Global Environmental Politics

Abstract

Measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic have indefinitely postponed in-person formal international negotiations for a new legally binding instrument under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ). As a result, online initiatives have emerged to keep informal dialogue ongoing among both state and nonstate actors. To continue our research on the BBNJ process, we adapted our methodology and conducted a survey in May 2020 exploring the impact of COVID-19 on respondents’ BBNJ-related work and communication. This research note identifies online initiatives and communication channels set up to maintain negotiation momentum and examines the challenges and opportunities of digital diplomacy for multilateral environmental agreement making, as well as the study thereof. We discuss future avenues for global environmental politics research and conclude that digital ethnographies provide an entry point to study some of these dynamics but need to be adapted to the study of negotiation settings and the specific context of multilateral environmental diplomacy.

 

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