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Oceans and fisheries
News announcement3 February 2020Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries1 min read

The EU organised an international workshop on environmental impact assessments and strategic environmental assessments to help conclude a treaty on the high seas

The European Commission organised an international workshop on environmental impact assessments (EIAs) and strategic environmental assessments (SEAs) in areas beyond national jurisdiction in Brussels on 28 and 29 January 2020. The event was organised in the context of ongoing negotiations on a new legally binding instrument on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ) under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

At the start of the workshop, Virginijus Sinkevičius, European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, said:

Let’s seize the opportunity this year for concluding a new Treaty that will protect the high seas, half of our planet.

The workshop contributed to the intersessional work of the BBNJ negotiations by bringing together over 100 participants representing governments, international institutions, business, civil society and science to discuss the EIA chapter of the future Treaty. This provided a unique opportunity for more than 30 UN delegations active in the negotiations and coming from different regions of the world to discuss environmental impact assessments, strategic environmental assessments and key outstanding issues with experts and other relevant stakeholders. The interactive panel sessions also explored potential solutions to some of these issues by analysing concrete proposals for the future Treaty.

Amanda Chong, Singapore’s representative (State Counsel, International Affairs Division, Attorney-General’s Chambers of Singapore) shared her appreciation for the workshop: “The BBNJ Workshop on EIA and SEA organised by the EU had a good balance of perspectives from academics, practitioners and delegates. I found the full hour set aside for discussion after each panel to be useful, as it gave space for participants to consider how the various ideas presented might find concrete shape in the Instrument.

The fourth session of the BBNJ negotiations will take place at the UN from 23 March to 3 April 2020.


Publication date
3 February 2020
Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries