United Nations discussions on the governance of marine areas beyond national jurisdiction have questioned, but not yet reached a decision, on whether existing institutional agreements and structures are sufficient to meet global commitments to protect marine biodiversity, or if additional mechanisms may be required. This paper considers two very different efforts to protect marine biodiversity in these areas: (1) in the North-East Atlantic through the efforts of OSPAR Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic; and (2) in the central Atlantic, through the efforts of the Sargasso Sea Alliance led by the Bermuda government. In each case, action has been strongly supported by non-governmental organisations and subsequent progress has hinged upon on-going dedicated efforts of "champion" governments to bring other States on board. This paper outlines the difficulties that they have faced, and consequently why they have been time-consuming, and are not yet completed. The paper then considers 10 common recommendations that can be drawn from the experiences of these two distinct initiatives, and their relevance to on-going UN deliberations. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.
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