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About Ocean Governance
"Global commons" are "resources or regions outside of national jurisdiction”[1], including the high seas (water and seabed), the atmosphere, the Antarctic and outer space. The global commons are “unowned resources” outside of the sovere...



BBNJ is the abbreviation of the Biological Diversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction. The sea area beyond national jurisdiction mainly refers to the high seas and the seabed. After more than a decade of informal discussions, the United Nations officially launched the intergovernmental negotiations on the BBNJ instrument in 2018. The negotiations are expected to eventually reach a legally binding international agreement to achieve effective international governance of high seas biodiversity.

This agreement will include issues such as access and benefit-sharing of marine genetic resources, area based management tools including marine protected areas, environmental impact assessment, and technology transfer and capacity building.

Since 2016, Greenovation Hub has participated in the BBNJ Negotiation Prep-Comm meeting and carried out related research and promoting work. We believe that by identifying key issues, proposing solutions, and promoting cross-disciplinary communication, we can provide support for China's constructive participation in global ocean governance. We are looking forward to working with all stakeholders to support a BBNJ treaty that could effectively protect high seas.

The health of the ocean is of the common concern of humanity. While the ocean environmental challenge rose, states have been taken progressive measures to combat the problems within their water. However, the actions to protect the ocean beyond national jurisdiction is falling behind. Focusing on issues relating to the high sea marine protected areas(MPAs) in the context of BBNJ ( conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction), this report tries to illustrate the complexity of high sea governance and elaborate the necessity of protecting the high seas from the perspective of politics, science, management and law.


Talks must overcome a web of vested interests before a biodiversity charter can be agreed.


The term “discourse power” is generally considered to originate from Foucault’s “Discourse is power”. The particularity of the global commons has meant that only a few countries were able to participate substantively in decision-making, which is sometimes in the name of “representing all humanity” So, the moral factor really matters in the mainstream discourse when it comes to problems in the public common. Therefore, it is crucial to coordinate national interests with the interests of all mankind in mind, and also short-term interests with long-term interests in public common. This paper observes a specific negotiation process on environmental protection which is a common issue, and proposes a framework for analyzing the institutional discourse power in common governance for discussion, and attempts to put forward some practical recommendations.

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