At the present time, the world’s oceans are exposed to direct or indirect human threats and seriously underprotected, with only approximately 0.8% of the oceans and 6% of territorial seas being within protected area systems. Measures are being taken to increase protection and sustainable management. In order to support effective policy action by countries and competent international and regional organizations, it is critical to build a sound understanding of the most ecologically and biologically important ocean areas that support healthy marine ecosystems.
In 2008, the ninth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 9) adopted the following scientific criteria for identifying ecologically or biologically significant marine areas in need of protection in open-ocean waters and deep-sea habitats.
|EBSAs: the seven criteria designed by the CBD|
|جدول معیارهای شناسایی مناطق مهم اکولوژیک یا بیولوژیک|
|Uniqueness or rarity||منحصر به فرد بودن و یا نایاب بودن|
|Special importance for life history stages of species||اهمیت ویژه برای مراحل مختلف چرخه زیستی گونه ها|
|Importance for threatened, endangered or declining species and/or habitats||اهمیت خاص برای گونه ها و یا زیستگاه های در معرض تهدید، در معرض خطر و یا در حال کاهش|
|Vulnerability, fragility, sensitivity, or slow recovery||آسیب پذیری، شکنندگی، حساسیت و یا قابلیت احیای کند|
|Biological productivity||تولید زیستی|
|Biological diversity||تنوع زیستی|
In October 2010, the tenth meeting of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity emphasized the importance of using the Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas (EBSAs) criteria as a scientific and technical process for the member states.
Areas selected on the basis of these criteria require increased protection and management through the creation and/or recognition of a variety of protected areas, environmental impact assessments, integrated management, and so on. The results of this decision were presented in Resolution No. 29 (X/29) of the meeting.
Accordingly, the Secretariat of the Convention on Biodiversity launched in 2011 a series of regional workshops to facilitate the identification and recognition of important maritime areas based on the EBSAs criteria. The purpose of these workshops is to identify these “special regions” in the seas and oceans, which are vital for the proper functioning of marine ecosystems.