There is a concerted international effort through the United Nations to ensure that 10 percent of the world ocean area is under protection by the year 2020. Although this worldwide effort is gaining momentum toward the goal, the global community is not on pace to meet it. In addition, ongoing efforts through various United Nations bodies are working to create legal mechanisms for protection of ocean areas in the high seas and deep seabed beyond national jurisdiction. There are also important efforts led by NGOs and philanthropy to protect ocean areas within and beyond national jurisdictions. But there are serious limitations to these approaches.
The Aspen High Seas Initiative will provide increased leadership in raising aware- ness, advancing strategic thinking, developing policy options, harnessing technology solutions, fostering collaboration, sharing best practices, and generating funding. The Aspen Institute is an organization that is nonpartisan and focused on enable conservation of the High Seas. The initiative will promote the big idea of high seas protection and simultaneously boost ongoing efforts for protection of oceanic waters within national EEZs most “ripe” for success.