Competence or Confidence? The Appropriate Forum to Address Multi-Purpose High Seas Protected Areas



This article addresses the question of the most suitable forum for discussions on the establishment of marine protected areas beyond national jurisdiction, and on the complementary role of other international organizations and processes related to marine biodiversity and fisheries. In light of negotiations in 2005 and 2006 within the context of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the United Nations General Assembly, it is argued that consensus on the leading role of the General Assembly was based on political grounds – a judgement call based on the confidence in this forum to address ocean issues in an integrated manner – rather than strictly on the competence of the CBD in relation to the high seas.