We used two separate governance maps in the analysis: one for terrestrial areas and one for marine areas. For the terrestrial analysis, the governance map was created by assigning the 2016 Fragile State Index value to each spatial pixel of the country, as mapped by the Database of Global Administrative Areas (www.gadm.org/). The Fragile State Index (http://fundforpeace.org/fsi/) aims to assess the vulnerability of a country to conflict or collapse. It ranks all sovereign states with UN membership on a continuous scale from sustainable (more stable) to alert countries (least stable). Specifically, the index is based on 12 indicators of state vulnerability, grouped by three categories: social (four indicators), economic (two indicators), and political (six indicators). The Fragile State Index represents an aggregate measure summarizing various aspects of governance, therefore offering a more realistic measure of the capacity of countries to implement the rule of law.

For the marine prioritization, we created the governance map by merging the Exclusive Economic Zones of each country and a layer with the regional fishing bodies’ boundaries in high seas, that is, the waters beyond national jurisdiction. In the resulting layer, each Exclusive Economic Zone pixel reported the Fragile State Index value of the country the Exclusive Economic Zone belonged to. For high seas, instead, we used the average Fragile State Index value across the contracting countries of each regional fishing body (www.fao.org/fishery/rfb/en). Our approach might be considered optimistic, as many of the high seas are, in reality, hotspots of illegal fishing (8). Exclusive Economic Zone boundaries were downloaded from the Marine Regions data portal (www.marineregions.org/downloads.php), while the regional fishing bodies’ boundaries were obtained from the World Food Program data portal (www.fao.org/geonetwork/srv/en/metadata.show?id=31675). A few countries (Taiwan, the Palestinian territories, Kosovo, and Western Sahara) were not yet ranked by the Fragile State Index. In the absence of data, they were therefore assigned an average value across all countries ranked by the index.

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