The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation organises the 1st edition of the Ocean Conservation Legal Roundtable
On Friday 24th March, as part of Monaco Ocean Week 2023, the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation organised its very first Ocean Conservation Legal Roundtable. This event, dedicated to the legal framework of the ocean and the blue economy, aims to foster dialogue between private and public law, and between domestic and international law, on issues relating to law of the sea in the broadest sense, in an accessible and dynamic manner.
Olivier Wenden, Vice-President and CEO of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, opened this edition by declaring that “This meeting is very important for us because thought on the legal issues relating to the ocean is all too often developed in silos. (…) This need for an open and holistic dialogue is at the heart of this 1st edition of the Ocean Conservation Legal Roundtable and will have the opportunity to benefit from very complementary perspectives associating public law and private law, and taking into consideration extremely diverse frameworks and realities, from international treaties to the customs of indigenous peoples, not to mention the kaleidoscope of national laws and regional agreements. It is in these frameworks and realities that we need to reconcile, at a time when we need to collectively create new ocean governance in the wake of the significant progress recently made through the High Seas Treaty.”
Throughout the day, three panels were organised with discussions on coastal resilience and indigenous law, biodiversity and the precautionary approach in the Mediterranean, and how international and national law can adapt to solutions.
The first panel moderated by Mr. Daniel Wildcat, Professor, Haskell Indian Nations University and Lead Investigator, Indigenous Coastlines People Hub of the National Science Foundation, focused on coastal resilience and indigenous law. The Panelists – Ms Jenniffer Santos, Academic chair at the Graduate Academic Certificate Program in Planning for Disaster Reduction for the Salvador Padilla Escabi Graduate School of Planning - University of Puerto Rico, and Ms Lesley Iaukea, Professor, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Director of the Indigenous Knowledge & Earth and Environmental Convergent Science Program in Hawaii – presented their work and some specificities and issues related to their cultures and regions.
The second panel moderated by Ms Virginie Tassin-Campanella, Lawyer, Founder of VTA Tassin, Vice-President of the INDEMER scientific council, brought together Mr Vasco Becker-Weinberg, Professor of Law at Lusophone University and NOVA School of Law President of the Portuguese Institute of the Law of the Sea,Dr. iur. (Hamburg), Masters of Law (Lisbon), Ms Sarra Sefrioui, Associate Professor at the Faculty of Legal, Economicand Social Sciences of Tangier, and Mr Montassar Ben Salem, Doctor of Law, Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Legal, Political and Social Sciences of Tunis around the topic of biodiversity and the precautionary approach in the Mediterranean. The panel focused on Marine Protected Areas and Environmental Impact Assessment, and covered various definitions, thresholds, and factors related to the precautionary approach, as well as the differences between the precautionary approach and the precautionary principle. The specificity of the Mediterranean Sea, including its cultural, social, and economic dimensions, was also highlighted. The panel discussed the UNCLOS, Barcelona Convention and its Protocols, Fish Stock Agreement, OSPAR, and BBNJ Agreement. Difficulties related to drafting and implementing the BBNJ Agreement and High Seas Pockets, maritime disputes, ocean data collection, and Marine Scientific Research were also discussed. The importance of understanding law as a tool to prevent disputes, promote implementation, and an instrument of peace was emphasized.
Ms Michal Nachmany, CEO and founder of Climate Policy Radar was invited to present her company's solution - a search engine-like artificial intelligence whose mission is to map and analyse the global climate policy and legislative landscape to support informed and evidence-based decision-making: “We’re on a mission to organise, analyse, and democratise access to knowledge on climate laws and policies. The ability to understand what is going on in this very messy black box of climate law and policy really hinders our progress, and the ability to make better laws, hold policymakers to account, integrate policy risk into decision-making, including mobilising private and public finance, really stops us from doing so.”
The adaptation of international and national law to innovative solutions was addressed in the final panel of the day moderated by Mr Andrew Heinrich, Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School and MPhil from Oxford University. The panelists – Ms Romany Webb, Deputy Director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University, Mr Carlos Mata, Doctor of Law and Social Sciences (University of the Eastern Republic of Uruguay - UDELAR) Head Professor of Public International Law, and Mr Liam Weber, Grants Manager of the Seychelles Conservations and Climate Adaptation Trust (SeyCCAT) – first discussed the adaptation of law at international level, in order to translate the contributions of innovative solutions into legal rules, and then this adaptation at national level with the presentation of their concrete experiences in the Seychelles and Uruguay. This panel highlighted the difficulty of this translation process in avoiding the overlapping of legislative standards.
Photo credit: ©JC Vinaj/FPA2