Common Oceans - A partnership for sustainability and biodiversity in the ABNJ
Some of the 2016 ABNJ Regional Leaders with organizers at the Opening of the Preparatory Committee established by General Assembly resolution 69/292: Development of an international 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.

Strengthening global capacity to effectively manage areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ)


Promote effective global and regional coordination on ABNJ, including through information exchange, capacity development, and enhanced engagement of stakeholders at global, regional and national levels in constructive policy dialogues on ABNJ.

Building on the efforts of the other projects and partners, this project focuses on three main areas:

  • Global and Regional cross-sectoral dialogues, through:
    • Workshops aimed at establishing linkages for improved information sharing and understanding on ABNJ across sectors and between global and regional levels.
    • High-level information sessions and events held at major relevant meetings to raise the awareness of high-level decision-makers on ABNJ issues, solicit their input on key ABNJ issues related to fisheries and biodiversity conservation, and encourage their involvement in future ABNJ policy discussions at various levels.
  • Capacity Development, through:
    • Communities of Practice in key ABNJ issue areas, made up of expert practitioners from academia, governments,  non-governmental organizations, UN agencies, and industry with relevant experience and knowledge in ABNJ issues to share and exchange information.
    • Regional ABNJ Leaders Fellowship Program supporting the participation of regional leaders from developing countries in global ABNJ processes.
  • Knowledge Management and Outreach, through:
    • Public Outreach Network partnering with journalists and outreach specialists to improve and expand efforts to raise awareness on important ABNJ issues.
    • The Common Oceans web portal designed to provide information, data and best practices on related ABNJ issues generated from all these projects.


This project, executed by FAO and the Global Ocean Forum, plays a key role in building and improving cross-sectoral dialogue, engagement of high-level decision-makers, public outreach and knowledge management to improve capacity to effectively manage ABNJ.

UN Negotiations relating to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction, April 2014 (© Miriam Balgos).

Project Partners

Convention on Biological Diversity
Deep Sea Conservation Coalition (DSCC)
French Biodiversity Agency
Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology (KIOST)
Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO)
International Maritime Organization
International Ocean Institute (IOI)
Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations(IDDRI)
Nausicaá Centre National de la Mer
Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA)
United Nations Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea
UNESCO - the United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organization - Natural Sciences
University of Science
Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association
World Ocean Network