Lora Reeve received an Environmental Law Program travel grant for her externship with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) High Seas Task Force this summer. For several weeks, Lora was based in Warsaw, Poland and worked under the guidance of Kristina Gjerde, the Policy Advisor for the Task Force.
Lora’s itinerary involved quite a bit of traveling. During the first two weeks, Lora attended the Global Ocean Biodiversity Initiative Pelagic Working Group meeting followed by the International Marine Conservation Congress, both in beautiful Vancouver Island, Canada. Lora then traveled to Warsaw with Kristina to begin work on two research papers. The first paper is a legal technical assistance document to help the Sargasso Sea Alliance pull together the international legal bases for the world’s first marine protected area completely in the high seas. The second paper will be published in the Ocean Yearbook and is entitled, “The future of high seas marine protected areas.” Lora took the lead for the research and writing of this paper and is honored to be the first author.
A week later, Kristina and Lora traveled to New York City, where they attended a meeting at United Nations Headquarters as members of the IUCN delegation. This was the fourth meeting of the UN Ad hoc working group on biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction. According to Lora, “It is intriguing to watch the States’ delegates at the hard bargaining on the conference room floor and in small groups in the corners of the room during breaks. No one expected major progress, but there was a breakthrough in the negotiations that led to substantive recommendations to be sent to the UN General Assembly for deliberation and, we hope, acceptance.”
Kristina and Lora headed back to Warsaw for two more weeks of work on several high seas issues. Lora thoroughly enjoyed herself and stated that, “It was great fun. Kristina is a very gracious hostess and a great pleasure to work with.” Lora also spent some time exploring the old section of the city. Poland has a very interesting and unique history.
Kristina and Lora next returned to New York for one more week as IUCN delegates to attend the meeting of the UN working group on the Law of the Sea. Lora said the process of UN negotiations is fascinating: “There are specific rules for debate among the State delegates and then responsive ‘interventions’ by inter-governmental (quasi-UN organizations such as IUCN) and non-governmental organizations (such as Greenpeace, National Resources Defense Council, World Wildlife Fund, and Pew Environment). To indicate the desire to speak, the State delegate raises a small sign with the name of her/his country. To make an intervention, the IGO or NGO delegate requests of the co-chairs that the name of her or his organization be put on the speakers’ list. The two co-chairs of this meeting/group are Mauritius and New Zealand.”
The special highlight of Lora’s externship was meeting so many wonderful people who are committed to furthering global marine conservation, and who are working at a decision-making level where they can really make a difference. Lora said that she is “grateful for ELP’s assistance.”
Pictured: Lora Reeve at the United Nations as a member of the IUCN delegation.