Coastal states and MPAs in ABNJ: Ensuring consistency with the LOSC

Alex G. Oude Elferink*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


To address the question how a future instrument for areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ) might give consideration to the rights and obligations of coastal States and other States in establishing marine protected areas (MPAs) in ABNJ, the current article discusses the options that have been tabled in this respect in the preparatory meetings for the intergovernmental conference that will be negotiating that instrument. In considering the current legal framework, the focus is on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (LOSC), as the new instrument is to be elaborated under the LOSC and is required to be fully consistent with it. The article analyses the relevant practice of four specific regions that have established MPAs in ABNJ. The article concludes that due regard is fundamental in addressing interactions between coastal States and other States and considers some options to provide it with specific content.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)437-466
Number of pages30
JournalInternational Journal of Marine and Coastal Law
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • Adjacency
  • Areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ)
  • Biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ)
  • Coastal States
  • Continental shelf
  • Due regard
  • Exclusive economic zone
  • High seas
  • International legally binding instrument (ILBI)
  • Marine protected areas (MPA s)


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