At the 9th CBD COP in 2008 in Bonn, Germany, the Parties to the Convention adopted a set of seven scientific criteria to identify ecologically or biologically significant areas (EBSAs) in the global marine realm. These scientific criteria help define specific ocean areas in need of protection and scientific guidance for designing representative networks of marine protected areas . The seven criteria are:
1. Uniqueness or rarity,
2. Special importance for life history of species,
3. Importance for threatened, endangered or declining species and/or habitats,
4. Vulnerability, fragility, sensitivity, slow recovery (fragile),
6. Biological diversity,
2008 – CBD COP 9
COP8 expressed its deep concern over the range of threats to marine ecosystems and biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction, and recognised that marine protected areas are an essential tool to help achieve conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in these areas.
The COP also recognised that the CBD has a key role in supporting the work of the United Nations General Assembly with regard to marine protected areas beyond national jurisdiction, by focusing on provision of scientific and, as appropriate, technical information and advice and requested by the Executive Secretary to:
- synthesise the best available scientific studies on priority areas for biodiversity conservation in these areas;
- refine, consolidate and, where necessary, develop further scientific and ecological criteria for the identification of marine areas in need of protection, and biogeographical and other ecological classification systems; and
- collaborate in the further development of spatial databases containing information on these areas.
The Global Ocean Biodiversity Initiative (GOBI) formed in late 2009 as a collaboration of partners from intergovernmental organisations, NGOs and academic institutions, with the following objectives:
1. Establish and support international scientific collaboration to assist States and relevant regional and global organisations to identify ecologically significant areas using the best available data, tools, and methods;
2. Provide guidance on how the CBD’s scientific criteria can be interpreted and applied towards management, including representative networks of marine protected areas;
3. Assist in developing regional analyses with relevant organisations and stakeholders.
See the GOBI website for more information.
See the GOBI website for more details on the different scientific criteria and decisions relevant to EBSAs.