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International background: Activities as part of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)external linkis an international convention with the following three objectives: (1) the conservation of biological diversity, (2) the sustainable use of its components, and (3) the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources.

The Conference of the Parties (COP) meets to decide on various key matters related to the Convention. One of the thematic programs of work the COP addresses is marine and coastal biodiversity. In 2008, the ninth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the CBD (COP 9) adopted scientific criteria for identifying (ecologically or biologically significant marine areas (EBSAs)external link) in need of protection (UNEP/CBD/COP/DEC/IX/20[PDF : 150KB]external link) . Since then, the application of scientific criteria for EBSAs is progressing around the world.


Domestic background: Activities to conserve marine biodiversity in Japan

In response to these international movements, conservation of marine biodiversity has come to be identified clearly in a variety of measures and conservation plans in Japan as well. For example, the National Biodiversity Strategy of Japan 2012–2020 (external site)external siteexplicitly calls for promoting the establishment of appropriate marine protected areas (MPAs) and the improvement of their management based on scientific knowledge. The National Biodiversity Strategy of Japan also highlighted the issue of identification of EBSAs for the establishment and appropriate management of MPAs.

Other domestic measures such as the Basic Plan on Ocean Policy (2008/2013 Cabinet decisions) (PDF: 564 KB) (external link)external linkalso mentioned the importance of identifying the ecologically and biologically significant marine areas. The Marine Biodiversity Conservation Strategy (established in 2011 by the Ministry of the Environment) (PDF: 798 KB)external link, makes the clear statement that these EBSAs should serve as the foundation for promoting measures to conserve marine biodiversity, including the establishment, management, and networking of MPAs.


The Aichi Biodiversity Targets and EBSAs

The Aichi Biodiversity Targets (external link)external linkwere adopted by the COP10 of the CBD (2010). The Aichi Targets identify 20 targets, one of which (Target 11) calls for conservation of “at least 17 per cent of terrestrial and inland water, and 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas” as protected areas or through other means. In response, the National Biodiversity Strategy of Japan 2012–2020 (external link)external linkidentifies 13 national goals as a roadmap toward achievement of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. One of national goals is “Appropriately conserve and manage at least 10% of coastal areas and ocean areas. (National Goal 11) ” It is expected that the EBSAs will serve as a basis for various studies and other activities toward the achievement of this target.