Table of Contents

Research Handbook on International Marine Environmental Law

Research Handbook on International Marine Environmental Law

Research Handbooks in Environmental Law series

Edited by Rosemary Rayfuse

This authoritative Handbook examines the current state and the future needs of international law in addressing the key activities that pose threats to the marine environment. Its chapters explore the legal framework for protection of the marine environment, pollution of the marine environment, seabed activities and the marine environment, protection of marine biodiversity, regional approaches to the protection of the marine environment and climate change and the marine environment. Each chapter goes beyond a survey of existing law to identify the shortcomings in the legal regime and areas of critical research needed to address these shortcomings. This book provides significant insights into contemporary issues surrounding the efficacy of the regime created by the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention and details the further work needed to ensure the design and implementation of effective regulation and management of human activities that affect the marine environment.

Chapter 2: Principles of international marine environmental law

Yoshifumi Tanaka

Subjects: environment, environmental law, law - academic, environmental law, public international law


International law governing marine environmental protection is not merely a mosaic of specific rules; rather it must be considered as a system governing international relations among States and other entities in respect of their activities both on and in relation to the oceans. In order to properly understand the systemic aspects of the international law of marine environmental protection, it is important to examine the cardinal principles of the international legal system in this field. In fact, the principles of the law have great potential value in three respects: (i) to integrate legal, economic and technological elements into a legal framework; (ii) to provide guidance in the interpretation and application of relevant rules; and (iii) to provide predictable parameters and the orientation for the development of law. While there is no generally agreed catalogue of principles governing marine environmental protection, this chapter will seek to examine in particular the five elements, i.e. the ‘no harm’ principle, the precautionary principle, the concept of sustainable development, the concept of common but differentiated responsibility and the principle of cooperation.

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