Evolving Disputes, Expanding Options
Edited by Truong T. Tran, John B. Welfield and Thuy T. Le
Chapter 10: A regional ocean governance framework for the integrated management of the environment and biological resources in the South China Sea
The South China Sea can be considered as a Large Marine Ecosystem (LME), and to protect its biodiversity and fishery resources, it is necessary to have a mechanism for coordinating the activities of the surrounding countries and establishing marine protected areas in the disputed seas. This can only be done if a coordinated and properly functioning intergovernmental ocean governance mechanism is set up. Such a governance mechanism will create a common framework for management and should be established according to international conventions and agreements on maritime activities, including the use and extraction of natural resources, conservation and protection of the marine environment, ecological systems and biodiversity for socio-economic development. Countries surrounding the South China Sea should also apply international laws, especially the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the recent award of the Arbitral Tribunal established under UNCLOS Annex VII on the South China Sea case, in determining the sea area under their sovereignty and jurisdiction and in formulating marine environment, biodiversity and fishery resource protection and conservation policies.
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