Saving the Oceans Through Law: The International Legal Framework for the Protection of the Marine Environment

Oxford University Press
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The oceans cover more than seventy per cent of the surface of the planet and they provide many vital ecosystem services. However, the health of the world's oceans has been deteriorating over the past decades and the protection of the marine environment has emerged as one of the most pressing legal and political challenges for the international community. An effective solution depends upon the cooperation of all states towards achieving agreed objectives. This book provides a critical assessment of the role that international law plays in this process, by explaining and evaluating the various legal instruments that have been negotiated in this area, as well as key trends in global ocean governance. Starting with a detailed analysis of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the book considers the main treaties and other legal texts that seeks to prevent, reduce, and control damage to the marine environment caused by navigation, seabed exploitation, fishing, dumping, and land-based activities, as well as emerging pressures such as ocean noise and climate change. The book demonstrates how international institutions have expanded their mandates to address a broader range of marine environmental issues, beyond basic problems of pollution control to include the conservation of marine biological diversity and an ecosystems approach to regulation. It also discusses the development of diverse regulatory tools to address anthropogenic impacts on the marine environment and the extent to which states have adopted a precautionary approach in different maritime sectors. Whilst many advances have been made in these matters, this book highlights the need for greater coordination between international institutions, as well as the desirability of developing stronger enforcement mechanisms for international environmental rules.
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About the author

James Harrison is a senior lecturer in international law at the University of Edinburgh School of Law. He holds law degrees from the University of Edinburgh (PhD, LLM) and the University of East Anglia (LLB). James has broad teaching and research interests, including international law of the sea, international environmental law, international economic law, and international dispute settlement. He has published widely on these topics, including a monograph, an edited collection, and a range articles in leading international law journals. James also has broad experience in providing legal advice and consultancy to governments and intergovernmental institutions.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Oxford University Press
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Published on
Oct 27, 2017
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Pages
300
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ISBN
9780191017025
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Law / International
Political Science / Public Policy / Environmental Policy
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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The first single-volume reference of its kind, this comprehensive handbook provides background information and analysis on the full range of contemporary ocean use issues. Coverage includes the development of ocean law, the evolving uses of oceans, data on living and non-living ocean resources, the environmental impact of pollution, and competing national claims over ocean exploration. The volume also summarizes the most current research available on the uses of oceans, incorporates the salient portions of the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention in the topical surveys and analyses presented, and discusses all of the other major international conventions that have dealt with global ocean or marine affairs. Students, researchers, and agency staff concerned with the political and legal dimensions of ocean use will find this an indispensable source.

The handbook begins with an overview of the world's oceans and their physical and geographic features. The next two chapters survey the international conferences that have been held on ocean use and explore the historical development of international principles on the law of the sea. Ocean resources and their economic and political management form the focus of the following four chapters, with separate chapters on living and non-living resources and deep seabed mining. The final chapters address ocean environmental protection and pollution prevention and the implications of various uses of the ocean: military, navigation and transport, and marine scientific research. The text is accompanied by numerous charts and tables, end-of-chapter references, and seven appendixes which contain valuable supplemental information such as a chronological list of conventions and treaties on the law of the sea, national legislation on exclusive economic zones, bilateral fishery agreements, and more.

The South China Sea disputes continue to confuse and confound policymakers. All the countries bordering directly on this sea - China, Vietnam, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Brunei - have claimed some or all of the tiny, but strategically located, Spratly Islets and some or all of the maritime space and its resources. All of these claims have serious weaknesses under the principles of international law that govern these issues.

This book offers several possible regional interim solutions to the South China Sea disputes. All of the national claims to both islands and ocean space in the region have weaknesses. An interim solution is urgently needed because the status quo is dangerous and unstable, because of unilateral actions by the claimants and continuing opportunities for involvement by outside powers. Division or allocation of the features and ocean space among the competing claimants seem unfeasible because of their sharp disagreements over the boundaries of the area in dispute as well as what would constitute an appropriate equitable division.

The authors survey the principles that appear to guide the nations of the South China Sea region in their regional relations, and they identify the appropriate objectives of a regional resource authority. They also identify the political realities of the region, which serve as constraints on the design of a regime. The authors propose the creation of a regional multilateral resource management body as a solution to reduce the tension currently rife in the region. The options presented serve as illustrations designed to stimulate constructive discussion on a comprehensive multilateral interim solution to these difficult and dangerous disputes.

Sharing the Resources of the South China Sea will be of interest to international decision-makers, negotiators, and academics desirous of a peaceful solution to these disputes.

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “The Uninhabitable Earth hits you like a comet, with an overflow of insanely lyrical prose about our pending Armageddon.”—Andrew Solomon, author of The Noonday Demon

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It is worse, much worse, than you think. If your anxiety about global warming is dominated by fears of sea-level rise, you are barely scratching the surface of what terrors are possible—food shortages, refugee emergencies, climate wars and economic devastation.

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The Uninhabitable Earth is also an impassioned call to action. For just as the world was brought to the brink of catastrophe within the span of a lifetime, the responsibility to avoid it now belongs to a single generation—today’s.

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