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Excerpt: Navigating Shifting Regimes of Ocean Governance

Ana K. Spalding and Ricardo de Ycaza

In the spirit of World Environment Day on 5 June, we invite you to read the following excerpt from “Navigating Shifting Regimes of Ocean Governance: From UNCLOS to Sustainable Development Goal 14” by Ana K. Spalding and Ricardo de Ycaza (Environment and Society: Advances in Research, Vol.11: Issue 1), a part of the Berghahn Open Anthro collection of open access journals.

Among existing international institutions with oversight over the ocean, the United Nations System is the largest, most encompassing, and most influential. Notably, it hosts UNCLOS. Within the UN System, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) are exclusively concerned with ocean affairs, focusing on research and shipping, respectively. Additional UN entities include ocean-related issues within their scope of work. For instance, the UN Environment Programme promotes conservation and sustainable use of ocean resources and created the Regional Seas Programme (Grip 2017). The UN Development Programme is critical for sustainable development, dedicating part of its action plan to ocean governance through SDG 14. The Food and Agriculture Organization leads efforts to achieve food security, with fisheries being one of the most significant sources of protein worldwide (Ehlers 2016). The World Meteorological Organization promotes international cooperation concerning atmosphere-land-ocean interactions and collaborates with the IMO to provide information related to ocean safety. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization promotes scientific research and houses the IOC. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development supports developing countries in accessing the benefits of a globalized economy, explicitly helping them identify opportunities from the blue economy. The International Seabed Authority organizes and regulates seabed mining activities in areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ) (Harrison 2011). Recent UN efforts to integrate ocean concerns include the Ocean Conference and the declaration of the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021–2030). Lastly, multilateral funding agencies such as the World Bank facilitate the flow of capital internationally through loans for development projects that can be ocean focused.

A part of the Berghahn Open Anthro Collection!

Environment and Society
Advances in Research
Amelia Moore, University of Rhode Island
Jerry Jacka, University of Colorado Boulder

Learn more about Berghahn Open Anthro

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