Instance of the environmental turn: the evolution of the law of the sea and marine protected areas within national jurisdiction, with focus on networks of and large-scale marine protected areas
Item statusRestricted Access
Embargo end date15/03/2023
de Sousa Fernandes, Beatriz
In the last half century there has been an environmental turn in the perspective and priorities of the international community regarding the oceans, with a novel focus of protection of the marine environment and its ecosystems and habitats. This thesis analyses the significance of the adoption of marine protected areas (MPAs) in areas within national jurisdiction (AWNJ) and argues this is one important manifestation, in the law of the sea, of the environmental turn, in this instance as a turn away from a primarily exploitative perspective on coastal states’ marine AWNJ towards one prioritizing their obligations to protect and preserve them. The thesis explores the designation and regulation of the large, diverse and still expanding array of AWNJ MPAs and MPA networks and how this has gone hand in hand with the rise of a complex web of environmental legal and policy instruments and regulations, at international, regional and national levels, all playing somewhat differing roles, but, collectively mandating, encouraging and facilitating them, and whose interpretation’s evolution, both in case law and more generally, has, simultaneously, been influenced by them. Specifically, the roles played in this process by UNCLOS, both as the overarching framework for the law of sea and through its detailed provisions in the various different marine AWNJ zones and the interpretation of it by international tribunals, the CBD, which mandates ‘protected area’s, the IMO and instruments under it, the FAO’s Port State Measures Agreement, the WHC, CITES, UNFSA and RFMO/A, which provide a range of tools for states to adopt in order to improve regulation of marine activities, the CMS and regional seas programmes such as the Barcelona, Cartagena and OSPAR Conventions, which both encourage collaboration between states and enable individual state parties, the activities of the COPs of all these various instruments and of the UNGA, and the practices of states under the aegis of such regional agreements, of an illustrative national state MPA network and of a variety of contrasting, states’ large scale MPAs, are investigated. The thesis concludes that as a result of this evolving legal framework, coastal states have, through the adoption of AWNJ MPAs and MPA networks, gradually been able to re-orientate/improve the balance between marine conservation and other marine uses, including flag state activities, and to protect AWNJ environments, and, thus, that the adoption of AWNJ MPAs is indeed an important, law of the sea instantiation of the environmental turn.