Workshop on the governance of High Seas biodiversity conservation
Cairns, Australia June 16-19 2003
About the workshop
The deep oceans contain a vast diversity of life forms, many of which are still being discovered. Some scientists estimate that over 100 million species may inhabit the high seas.
This marine life is poorly understood, and scientific knowledge to guide management is very limited. There are many examples of severe, and potentially irreversible, damage to the biodiversity and environment of the high seas under present management and jurisdictional arrangements.
In order to work towards addressing these issues, Australia hosted a major international conference on high seas biodiversity in June 2003.
Australia facilitated this international workshop to advance practical action to improve the conservation and management of the biodiversity of the high seas and deep oceans — the Earth's final frontier.
This initiative was undertaken in partnership with the following countries: Canada, the United Kingdom, Cambodia, New Zealand, and the United States of America; nongovernmental organisations: the World Conservation Union (IUCN), the World Wide Fund for Nature, the International Oceans Institute, Humane Society International and intergovernmental organisations: the International Maritime Organization, the International Seabed Authority and the Food and Agriculture Organization.
The Workshop specifically addressed the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) Plan of Implementation call to 'maintain the productivity and biodiversity of important and vulnerable marine and coastal areas ... beyond national jurisdiction'.