Is law fit for purpose to protect oceans against increasing pressures and demands? This two-day conference aims at analyzing new trends in the law of the sea, international environmental law, and related fields of law, and discussions related to the effectiveness of certain tools and mechanisms.
The Research Group on International Law and Governance (University of Oslo, Law Faculty) and the Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA) organize this conference to advance discussions on the gaps and challenges in law related to the protection of oceans, and to bring forward novel legal approaches and solutions.
The oceans are under increasing pressure from climate change, (micro)plastic pollution, loss of biodiversity, habitat destruction, unsustainable use, to name but a few, which all adversely affect the resilience of our oceans. UN Sustainable Development Goal 14 specifically requires us to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources. Key to sustainable ocean governance is the understanding of ecosystem functioning and the appreciation of interactions and interconnections among marine ecosystems, land and sea, oceans and climate, and interactions between marine and other types of ecosystems. Changes in the ecosystem functioning and resilience often have consequences far beyond in time and geographical scope and require robust but flexible and comprehensive regulatory solutions and approaches.
International law, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Convention on Biological Diversity, provides for a framework governing States’ rights and obligations with respect to the use of oceans and their resources, protection of the environment and biodiversity as well as responsibility for the damage caused to the oceans arising from unlawful activities of different actors. Regional agreements such as OSPAR and HELCOM have similar purposes for regional seas. National legal systems also play a crucial role in the implementation of international and regional obligations. The legal system is fragmented and comprehensive, but is the law ripe for protecting oceans in the face of increasing environmental challenges and human demands? Are legal frameworks effective, strong, and flexible enough to address new challenges and pressures in light of advanced scientific knowledge and understanding of oceans? This conference aims to discuss and reflect on how we could strengthen the rule of law for Oceans.
Where can existing laws evolve, adapt and improve? And where do we have to think afresh? Which innovative approaches and mechanisms are being adopted or under discussion and what could be their advantages?
For more information on submission of abstracts for the conference please visit this link.