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Background, Motivations and Aspirations of the 2018 CAOF Agreement
The 2018 Agreement to Prevent Unregulated High Seas Fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean (CAOF Agreement) is a unique international treaty. It sets up conditions for potential future (commercial) fisheries in the central Arctic Ocean, furthered by climate change, until ecosystem dynamics are well understood. As a product of balancing interests of various stakeholders after a multi-year drafting process, the agreement protects both fish stocks and the environment. Based on international maritime law, scientific research and principles of international environmental law, such as the precautionary approach, it sets a precedent for future fisheries agreements.
The Yearbook of Polar Law covers a wide variety of law and policy topics relating to the Arctic and the Antarctic, and even the Third Pole. Many of the articles draw on presentations made at the annual Symposiums on Polar Law. The Editors-in-Chief are Gudmundur Alfredsson of the Stefansson Arctic Institute in Akureyri and the China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing, Julia Jabour of the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Timo Koivurova of the Arctic Centre, University of Lapland, and Akiho Shibata of the Polar Cooperation Research Centre, Kobe University.

Articles published in the Yearbook are peer reviewed, unless otherwise noted. The Yearbook will also carry book reviews and occasional news stories.

The topics covered in the Yearbook include:
- human rights issues, such as autonomy, self-government and self-determination, the rights of indigenous peoples to land and natural resources, cultural rights and cultural heritage, and indigenous traditional knowledge
- local, national and corporate governance issues
- environmental law, climate change, security and human rights implications of climate change, protected areas and species, and biodiversity
- regulatory and management agreements and arrangements for marine environments, marine mammals, fisheries conservation and other biological/mineral/oil resources
- jurisdictional and other issues re the exploration, exploitation and shipping of oil, gas and minerals
- law of the sea, the retreating sea ice, and continental shelf claims
- trade law, potential shipping lines through the northwest and northeast passages, maritime law and transportation law
- territorial claims and border disputes on both land and at sea
- peace and security, and dispute settlement
- the roles and actual involvement of international organizations in the polar regions, such as the Arctic Council, the Nordic Council, the International Whaling Commission, the European Union, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and the United Nations, and
- the activities of NGOs, think tanks and academic institutions

This Yearbook contains a selection of papers presented at the 15th Polar Law Symposium and other papers submitted, with an additional political commentary and book reviews.
In: Chinese Journal of Environmental Law


Regional arrangements for dispute resolution are sanctioned under Article 52 of the United Nations Charter. Following therefrom, the regions of Europe, America and Africa have set up regional courts for the resolution of all kinds of disputes between respective Member States, including for human rights issues. In the Southeast Asian region, despite the setting up of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on 8 August 1967, there has yet to be any concrete form of a binding dispute resolution mechanism. In recent times, environmental issues have been given due recognition by their elevation onto the human rights platform in many international conventions, and also crafted into the constitutions of many countries around the world. Against this background, this article explores the viability of establishing a regional court for Southeast Asia. The research finds that the establishment of a regional court in Southeast Asia is necessary, not only to tackle transboundary pollution issues between Member States, but also as a forum of last resort by individuals or groups within Member States which have yet to recognise environmental rights as human rights.

Open Access
In: Chinese Journal of Environmental Law
Free access
In: Chinese Journal of Environmental Law


Effective delivery of justice – especially in developing countries – is being severely compromised by several factors, one of which is climate change. The article discusses the narrow but important nexus between climate change, poverty and effective justice delivery, with particular reference to the poor and the vulnerable in Nigeria. The article considers the impact of climate change on access to justice from two angles. The first factor is that people cannot access the courts physically due to climate change-induced events such as flooding. The second is that the courts, and the judges themselves, are impeded physically in the functioning and delivering of justice due to climate change-induced events. The article calls on the government to strengthen its laws and harmonise its policies on climate change and poverty eradication for more effective long-term adaptation especially as it relates to poor and vulnerable people.

In: Chinese Journal of Environmental Law


One of the most significant effects of anthropogenic climate change is the unprecedented and increasing rate of loss of the world’s biological diversity. One result of that increase is the urgent need to consider the translocation of animals and plants to more suitable habitats to enable them to survive under changing climatic conditions, a process referred to as assisted species migration (ASM). This article seeks to demonstrate how biodiversity-related treaties can enhance the implementation of ASM. It argues that the provisions of the relevant conventions should be applied flexibly to explicitly promote ASM and provide some guidance in respect of its regulation. Further articulation of ASM in documents adopted by the conferences of the parties, the conventions’ secretariats, and the documents produced by the individual parties to the treaties would also be useful as it would raise awareness and contribute to the sharing of information on best practices and related problems.

Open Access
In: Chinese Journal of Environmental Law


Under the Paris Agreement, parties are required to submit Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC s). Many countries have enacted domestic climate legislation that promote the implementation of these NDC s. This article investigates what climate legislation should include to enable countries to better achieve the Paris Agreement’s climate change adaptation and mitigation goals. It critically analyses Nigeria’s Climate Change Act (CCA) 2021 to determine the extent to which it can address climate change in Nigeria. Considering the peculiarities of Nigeria, the article compares the CCA with the UK Climate Change Act 2008. It also compares the Petroleum Industry Act as a piece of climate-related legislation with the CCA’s objective in respect of gas flaring. The article argues that considering Nigeria’s circumstances, it is unlikely that it will be able to achieve its climate target under the NDC s and the CCA. This article therefore attempts to foreshadow the likely path forward.

In: Chinese Journal of Environmental Law
This series publishes work on all aspects of the international legal dimensions of the concept of sustainable development. Its aim is to publish important works of scholarship on a range of relevant issues including conservation of natural resources, climate change, biodiversity loss and the role of international agreements, international organizations and state practice.

The 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity prominently enshrined the concept of “access and benefit-sharing” (ABS) in the sphere of public international law. The series offers a forum for original research on the concept of ABS and on innovative regulatory and governance approaches related to the equitable sharing of commercial and non-commercial benefits deriving from access to genetic resources, biological resources and the traditional knowledge of indigenous and local communities, as well as in broader context of environmental protection and management.

The series will promote scholarly analysis of and practitioners’ reflection on the theory and the practice of regulatory and governance approaches to access and benefit-sharing.

It will explore substantive issues including: the multi-level legal frameworks for access to and benefit-sharing from genetic resources and traditional knowledge; legal issues related to access and benefit-sharing in the context of nature conservation; the legal recognition and reward of sustainable customary use and community-based environmental management practices; the protection and promotion of traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples, smallholder farmers and local communities; legal challenges and innovations related to private sector-led, community-led and development assistance-based ABS arrangements; national and international approaches to the enforcement of the law. The series will also aim to illuminate the interactions between different areas of international law, between national and international law, as well as between the customary law and practices of indigenous and local communities and national and international law on ABS. It will also investigate interactions or influences between benefit-sharing approaches in various areas of international law, including human rights, the law of the sea, climate change and in particular REDD, forest management, agriculture, innovation and intellectual property rights, and corporate accountability.

The series will include both international (public and private) law studies as well as national/comparative/transnational law studies on innovative ways to foster access and benefit-sharing arrangements between governments, between government and local or indigenous communities, as well as between private individuals or entities. While the main focus is on legal studies, there is also some scope for inter-disciplinary pieces in both streams of research, as long as they are specifically aimed to inform legal analysis and lawmaking.

Books published in the series will be peer-reviewed and include research monographs and edited collections of essays.