On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of The Max Planck Yearbook of United Nations Law, this article revisits the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) contribution to regime interaction in the fields of air pollution, climate change, ship waste management and rescue of migrants at sea. Particular attention is given to cooperation arrangements between international organizations and how their day-to-day activities contribute to or hinder legal development among legal regimes. These interactions are studied through the theoretical lenses of ‘relational interactions’ and ‘regime complexes’. The paper focuses on iterative and forward-looking cooperation arrangements and the characteristics of such interactions ranging from collaborative to conflictive. I illustrate how the IMO has made substantial contributions (beyond maritime law) to the law of the sea and international environmental law, but the contribution to refugee law has been more modest. While the IMO will continue to engage in regime interaction, legal scholarship should pay closer attention to institutional congestion in international law. Since the international legal system has no pre-established hierarchy, governance is horizontal and may be prone to conflicts. It is time to devise mechanisms that allow relational interactions while avoiding legal fragmentation and forum shifting risks.
The paper analyses the opportunities to establish marine protected areas (MPAs) beyond national jurisdiction in the Arctic Ocean. For this, the author scrutinises the legal processes allowing UNCLOS to adapt to current and future ocean governance challenges concerning biological diversity and the limits of such adaptability. Some significant limitations are found in areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ) in the Arctic Ocean. The low political commitment of Arctic States to cooperate in fora such the Arctic Council leaves the ABNJ of the Arctic Ocean in a very precarious situation. With extensive areas of the seabed potentially falling under national jurisdiction and the water column remaining as ‘high seas,’ there is a possibility that Arctic cooperation will be eroded.
The Arctic Ocean plays a fundamental role in climate regulation. However, the ice is rapidly disappearing, threatening the Arctic Ocean’s capacity to regulate the global climate. Even if State parties to the 2015 Paris Agreement fully implement the Convention, these efforts will most likely not prevent, at least not until mid-century, the ongoing warming of the Arctic Ocean. Novel scientific research advances the possibility of deploying geoengineering techniques to restore Arctic sea ice to its historical levels. Ice management techniques are claimed to be different from traditional solar radiation management (SRM) techniques since the former are regionally constrained and potentially reversible. However, serious concerns have already been raised about these apparently innocuous techniques. Geoengineering elicits a high degree of risk and for this reason, an open public discussion of geoengineering research can no longer wait. This chapter analyses geoengineering research governance with particular emphasis on the Arctic Ocean and novel ice management techniques. There is no comprehensive legal regulation on geoengineering research. The common international policy standpoint appears to be ‘governance before deployment.’ However, we argue that ‘governance before research’ is just as crucial.