Environmental Governance of the Great Seas
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Environmental Governance of the Great Seas

Law and Effect

Joseph F.C. DiMento and Alexis Jaclyn Hickman

The great seas contain immense resources and provide invaluable services to humankind, yet their environmental conditions are threatened worldwide. The authors of this comprehensive study provide a rich assessment of the seas and the efficacy of the initiatives governing them, as well as suggestions for improving governance and protection. Case studies of the Baltic, Mediterranean, Black, Caribbean and East Asian seas illustrate the varying degrees of policy success, failure and promise.
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Chapter 7: The Wider Caribbean Region

Joseph F.C. DiMento and Alexis Jaclyn Hickman


PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS The Wider Caribbean Region (WCR) is defined as encompassing the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, and the adjacent bays and marine areas. The Caribbean Sea is a semi-enclosed marine area connected to the greater Atlantic. It is bordered by the Lesser Antilles in the East and Southeast, Greater Antilles to the North, Central America to the West, and Mexico to the Southwest. Significant marine biodiversity and plentiful resources including coral reefs, exotic fish, sea turtles, and ocean plants make the sea a popular site for tourism. In addition, local populations rely on it for their livelihoods. Unique coral reefs with the endemic coral species make the WCR a site of environmental significance (Fanning et al. 2009). It encompasses 36 states and territories (UNEP 2010). Of those, 28 are United Nations member states including Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, Aruba, Belize, Bonaire, Barbados, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Costa Rica, Curacao, Colombia, Dominica, Grenada, Guatemala, Guadeloupe, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico (Quintana Roo State), Montserrat, Nicaragua, Panama, Saint Vincent & The Grenadines, Saint Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks & Caicos, the United States Virgin Islands and Venezuela (UNEP 2006). Within the Wider Caribbean Region, countries are characterized by significant variation in wealth and development. These differences contribute to major gaps in capacities to govern the marine environment (Fanning et al. 2009). The WCR encompasses approximately 15 million square kilometers (IOC-UNESCO 2009). Because of its great size, the WCR is often broken down into several subsystems, as is the case...

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