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Ocean Politics

The Law of the Sea of 1994 gave states rights and responsibilities for marine resources within their own economic zones, with additional demands of collaboration on protection of shared resources. Marine pollution is a global challenge that still does not have a global solution though.

Whats the role of a management regime?

70% of the ocean is beyond national jurisdiction, and the freedom of the seas – mare liberum – is still the rule at play in these areas. There are nevertheless examples of international management regimes that cover these areas and environmental challenges to them. These management regimes cover topic areas ranging from fisheries to air pollution to bird migrations over water in areas that does not have national jurisdiction. Marine pollution, best visualized by mounds of plastic converging in marine areas, now challenges global leaders to collaborate on developing an international legal framework to prevent and mitigate the problem. How can international regimes be drivers of change in local, regional, national and global behaviour? How can they illuminate global challenges such as marine pollution and bring it to the top of the global agenda?

A management regimes is aimed at ameliorating a special challenge. Its goal is to solve the problem or improve the socioeconomic, environmental or political areas that could become challenges for actors in the field. Clean Ocean is one such challenge today. The UN is currently at the verge of making a decision on whether or not to initiate an international conference on the management of biodiversity in the remaining 70% of the ocean through what has been coined the BBNJ regime (Treaty on the Protection of Biodiversity in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction). Through this regime, the global community could be given a golden opportunity to incorporate plastics and marine pollution and start on the path towards solving this problem.

What does SINTEF do?

SINTEF has strong international expertise in the field of Political Science. This discipline is about theoretical and practical politics, and the allocation of power in society, at a local, national or international level. It is about how institutions, practice and relations develop so that they together represent the public governance of common resources. SINTEFs ambition is to use this knowledge to follow the development of new regimes, assess the role of actors, states, NGOs and others involved, in a time with large global changes, for both the climate and the environment.