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On Monday October 18, delegates from around the globe gathered in Nagoya, Japan for the UN summit on biodiversity, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to determine measures to decrease the impact of human activities on the marine environment.

The CBD is a legally-binding treaty consisting of 193 members – 192 governments plus the European Union. Conference documents request governments to adopt measures to prevent significant adverse effects from human activities in marine and coastal areas and describe the “urgent need to assess and monitor the impacts and risks of unsustainable human activities on marine and coastal biodiversity”.

Pertinent issues for discussion during the CBD meeting included the use of environmental impact assessment (EIA) and strategic environmental assessment (SEA) where human activities have a significant impact on biodiversity in national and international waters. These impact assessment tools would be coupled with actions to identify “Ecologically or Biologically Significant Areas” using selection criteria adopted by governments at the previous CBD conference.

Paul Holthus, Executive Director of business leadership alliance on ocean sustainability The World Ocean Council said: “It is critical that the diverse ocean business community is engaged in international policy developments that affect their access and use of ocean space and resources.

“The participation of ocean sustainability leaders from the private sector is vital to successfully developing reasonable, balanced, science-based marine conservation measures, especially in the high seas.”

He continued: “Responsible ocean industries must be engaged in the CBD process to understand the issues and concerns of other stakeholders and take a leadership role in ensuring the health of marine ecosystems. Input from the ocean industries and science-based information on marine activities and their effects is essential to meaningful decision-making on ocean use.”