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Abstract

After over a decade of international efforts to include the ocean in the policy discussions at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) annual Conference of the Parties (COP), the ocean has finally been included by, inter alia, a reference to ‘ocean-based action’ in a series of COP outcomes, notable among which is the cover decisions known as the ‘Glasgow Climate Pact’. This article provides the necessary background to the inclusion of the ocean in COP26 outcomes, including the Pact, and examines key issues, impacts and shortfalls of the Pact and other COP26 outcomes, including mitigation, adaptation, finance and human rights. It concludes with suggestions for priority research areas moving forward.

Open Access
In: The International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law

Abstract

At the 12th Ministerial Conference in June 2022, Members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) reached a historic Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies that aims to contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This article provides the necessary background to the Agreement, tracing briefly the history to the negotiations. After a general overview of the Agreement, three key provisions of the Agreement are examined, namely, the prohibition of subsidies to (1) illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, (2) the fishing of overexploited stocks, and (3) fisheries on the high seas outside the competence of regional fisheries management organisations. The provisions of the Agreement on special and differential treatment in favour of developing and least developed countries, as well as notable procedural and institutional features, are also considered. The remaining issues still to be addressed at the WTO are highlighted in the conclusion.

Open Access
In: The International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law

Abstract

Climate change directly impacts the marine landscape where fishers operate. Most fishers rely on fishing for food, income and/or employment. A changing ocean can therefore significantly impact fishers’ lives and hinder the full exercise of their rights of access to fisheries resources, rights to fish, to food, to work, to culture, and to a healthy, clean and sustainable environment. This article questions whether international law supports the protection of fishers’ fundamental rights in the changing ocean context. The authors begin by elucidating what such context means to fishers and their rights, taking special account of small-scale fishers and vulnerable groups. The obligations of States Parties to key instruments under the law of the sea and international climate change law, vis-à-vis States’ obligations under human rights treaties and other relevant international guidance, are explored with a view to furthering the protection of fishers impacted by a changing ocean.

Open Access
In: The International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law

Abstract

After drawing attention to the crucial role of marine biodiversity, including that of deep-sea ecosystems, in current scientific understanding of the ocean-climate nexus, this article highlights the limited extent to which the international climate change regime has so far addressed the ocean. The focus then shifts to how the international climate change regime could contribute to the protection of marine biodiversity as part of mitigation, adaptation and finance, taking into account human rights impacts and standards, drawing a comparison with REDD+. The article concludes with an original proposal, inspired by the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, to develop urgent, synergistic approaches to ocean- and human rights-based climate action through a multi-actor coalition, including different international treaties and United Nations bodies, to ‘protect and restore the ocean’s contributions to climate regulation, human well-being and planetary health’.

Open Access
In: The International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law