Who governs the ocean?

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Ocean Science in Action - Oceans of the future

5. Introduction to the Western Indian Ocean

5.3 Who governs the ocean?

Video duration - 06:04

Ocean governance includes the processes, agreements, rules, institutions, etc. developed to organise the way in which humans use the ocean and its resources.

Waters within the Exclusive Economic Zones of countries are regulated by the national governments.

Areas outside of the Exclusive Economic Zones, known also as Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ), are notoriously difficult to manage, with few laws to promote their protection. They comprise about 64% of total ocean surface area.

However, because they are beyond the remit of any single government to protect, they are subject to overexploitation, pollution and habitat degradation, which together are undermining vital Earth support systems. Under a principle of “Freedom of the Seas” of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), states have a freedom of navigation, overflight, the laying of submarine cables and pipelines, the construction of artificial islands or installations, fishing and conduct of scientific research in the High Seas. Thus, ABNJ is particularly vulnerable to human activities as no single state has a legal or political mandate for its protection.

In this video lecture you will find out more about why we need ocean governance and about some of the institutions governing the oceans.

Dr D.Obura - CORDIO, East Africa

Further Reading:

UNEP-Nairobi Convention and WIOMSA (2015). The Regional State of the Coast Report: Western Indian Ocean. UNEP and WIOMSA, Nairobi, Kenya, 546 pp.

See also:

Western Indian Ocean Futures
Find out more about the challenges that Western Indian Ocean countries face in “how to achieve successful economic growth, build social welfare and equity AND maintain the health of ocean ecosystems”

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