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Global sea level rise has raised concerns over the potential inundation and erosion of low-lying coasts, including islands, around the world. Freestone was among the early commentators to identify related threats to the location of baselines along the coast and therefore on the scope of national claims to maritime jurisdiction. The chapter outlines the evolution of scientific understanding and projections of sea level rise while acknowledging the considerable associated complexities and uncertainties in the application of such projections to specific coastal situations. The implications of sea level rise for maritime claims and the evolving practice of States in response to this threat are then discussed. The chapter concludes with considerations on how this area of the law of the sea represents a ‘new frontier’, raising challenges to existing norms with a view to ensuring greater stability and certainty in the definition, delineation and delimitation baselines, maritime limits and boundaries.

Open Access
In: Frontiers in International Environmental Law: Oceans and Climate Challenges
In: Global Commons and the Law of the Sea
In: Navigating Straits
In: Ocean Law Debates
In: Science, Technology, and New Challenges to Ocean Law
In: Ocean Law and Policy
Developments in the Definition of Islands under the International Law of the Sea
In The Regime of Islands Reframed, Clive Schofield examines the definition of islands and other insular features under the international law of the sea. Particular reference is made to the arbitration case between China and the Philippines concerning the South China Sea which, as the first detailed international judicial examination and interpretation of the Regime of Islands, has reframing understanding of the definition of islands.

Reactions to the Award in the South China Sea case are appraised, confirmations and clarifications provided by the Award are highlighted as well as remaining uncertainties and scope for conflicting interpretation. The high standard for fully entitled island status set by the Tribunal in the South China Sea case is underlined as is scope for flexible application of the approach to island definition adopted by the Tribunal. The potential implications of the Award both within and beyond the South China Sea are explored.
In: The Limits of Maritime Jurisdiction