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Marine environment protection

  • The Ocean Conference, 5-9 June, New York, 2017

    June 6, 2017

    The Ocean Conference, the first United Nations conference on this issue, presents a unique and invaluable opportunity for the world to reverse the precipitous decline of the health of the oceans and seas with concrete solutions. The Conference will also promote progress in the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14, which is part of the 2030 Agenda adopted by all 193 UN Member States in 2015. The goal calls for efforts to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

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  • Coral Reefs under Threat?

    April 7, 2016

    Are coral reefs condemned to disappear? During the first decade of the 21st century, the intensification of cyclones, the phenomenon of coral bleaching due to ocean warming, outbreaks of a coral-eating starfish and coral diseases left us with this fear. In terms of addressing knowledge gaps, coral reefs are a priority because of their extraordinarily high biological richness and the multitude of products and ecosystem services they provide to human beings. What is the status and legal regime of coral reefs nowadays?

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  • Arctic drilling

    The Impact of Offshore Oil Drilling in the Arctic

    August 28, 2015

    In July 2015 the Obama administration has given Royal Dutch Shell PLC approval to begin with limited exploratory oil drilling off Alaska’s northwest coast, in the Chukchi Sea. The permits were granted despite the nationwide protest (where people in 13 states gathered for a “ShellNo” Day of Action) and protests by many environmental organizations such as Greenpeace, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Friends of the Earth. In this blog I will give a summary of the history of Arctic drilling and I will also discuss shortly the environmental concerns and technological and safety risks relating to offshore oil drilling in the Arctic.

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  • Paardenmarkt: A Toxic Legacy of the Great War

    May 29, 2015

    Countries that in the past have chosen to take the easy way out by disposing their chemical warfare material by ocean dumping are now realizing the unpleasant fact that this material, although out of sight, is not out of mind because it presents threats to public health and the environment. Here, the example of one of the largest World War I ammunition dump sites in Europe, the Paardenmarkt, a narrow submerged sand-bank called off the coast of Belgium.

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  • The Fight for the Chagos Islands

    May 25, 2012

    In the middle of the Indian Ocean, about halfway between India and Indonesia, some 500 km from the Maldives, lies a remote group of coralline islands called the Chagos Archipelago. This chain of islands consists of seven atolls comprising a total of sixty individual tropical islands. In 1814, the Chagos Islands officially became British territory and were administratively attached to Mauritius.

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  • Marine Debris

    Plastic Soup – What Legal Response to Marine Debris Pollution ?

    July 5, 2011

    Solving the problem of marine debris and plastic pollution in the World’s oceans is a very complex and challenging enterprise. In particular, its legal framework. Various international and regional instruments, domestic and local laws and regulations apply directly or indirectly to marine debris pollution. The conspicuously global nature of this problem indicates that a potential role of significance is reserved for international environmental law. However, not all international and regional instruments are legally binding, and not all have a strong focus on marine debris and plastic pollution.

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  • The International Politics of Whaling: Recent Developments

    July 2, 2010

    Whales, large, mysterious, intelligent, and endangered. Has any mammal inspired such romantic images of the sea and love for nature as much as the whale, yet aroused such controversy in global environmental conservation? King of the Seas, symbol of the environmental movement, meat and oil for commercial whaling. Over the years, large-scale commercial whaling has depleted a number of whale populations to a significant extent, resulting in the International Whaling Commission (IWC) issuing a moratorium on whaling in 1986. Some recent developments will illustrate the highly controversial nature of whaling.

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  • Arctic Council ratifies the Tromsø Declaration

    Arctic Council ratifies the Tromsø Declaration

    May 1, 2009

    The Arctic Council meets at foreign minister level every second year, approving projects and guidelines. Due to the increased activity and interest in the Arctic, the Tromsø meeting decided that the Arctic Council from now on will meet at political level once a year. Denmark will take over the chairmanship of the Arctic Council from Norway.

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