Reimagining the law of the sea—evolution or revolution
Professor Joanna Mossop asks whether changes to regulate ocean activities more sustainably can be achieved through evolution of the law.
The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS) established maritime zones and regulates the rights that states have in respect of human activities on the ocean such as fishing, research or mining. However, sustainability has been difficult to achieve. Over time, activities at sea have increased while the health of the ocean has declined due to pollution, over-exploitation, climate change and failures in regulation and enforcement. Numerous international organisations have a role in ocean governance, however their efforts have been fragmented and at times inadequate. In a positive development, the United Nations have this year adopted a new treaty, the Agreement on Marine Biodiversity beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ Agreement), intended to improve conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction.
In this lecture, Professor Joanna Mossop will ask whether changes to regulate ocean activities more sustainably can be achieved through evolution of the law and will explore the role that fresh perspectives may play in the future. Do UNCLOS and existing processes provide a sufficient basis for responding to new challenges, or is revolution needed?
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