Our ability to protect and sustainably use the high seas is ultimately subject to our ability to understand this vast and remote environment. The success of an international legally binding instrument (ILBI) for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ) will depend, in part, on utilizing technology to access ocean life, to analyze it, and to implement measures for its conservation and sustainable use. Indeed, technology, broadly defined, is integral to meeting the ILBI's objectives: not just the mandate to address “capacity-building and the transfer of marine technology,” but also the sustainable use and conservation of marine genetic resources, the implementation of environmental impact assessments, and biodiversity conservation measures such as area-based management tools. To maximize marine technology deployment to protect marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction, transferring technology to developing countries will be critical. Provisions for the transfer of technology, generally from developed to developing countries, are included in many international environmental agreements and declarations, but these provisions have often proven difficult to implement. Part of the difficulty is that the relevant technology is dispersed among states; universities, research institutes and other nonstate actors; and private industry. The particular challenge in crafting an ILBI is, as the European Union has identified, to avoid repeating existing provisions and instead to “focus on added value.” One opportunity for an ILBI to add value on technology transfer is to further develop a network model to facilitate marine technology transfer.
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