Protecting Forest and Marine Biodiversity
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Protecting Forest and Marine Biodiversity

The Role of Law

Edited by Ed Couzens, Alexander Paterson, Sophie Riley and Yanti Fristikawati

This timely book contributes to discussions on the best legal practices to use to promote conservation, protection and sustainable use of biological diversity in forest and marine areas. The breadth of issues explored across these two themes is immense, and the book identifies both key differences, and striking commonalities between them.
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Chapter 12: The contribution that the concept of global public goods can make to the conservation of marine resources

Carina Costa de Oliveira and Sandrine Maljean-Dubois


‘Global public goods’, ‘common heritage’ and the ‘global commons’ are concepts used to describe elements of the political and legal regime concerning marine resources. In this chapter it is explained, however, that these concepts are limited when it comes to determining the obligations of states and of international organizations regarding marine resources conservation. The question of whether a duty of cooperation to protect the marine environment exists or not is considered; and limitations on the different concepts are discussed. It is then averred that – even if the intrinsic purpose of the concepts discussed can be questioned – these concepts currently dominate the debate on marine resources. Their existence, whether scientifically useful or not, can therefore not be denied or ignored. It is argued that, to understand what they can concretely offer to the legal discussions on marine resources, these concepts must be articulated with the more precise legal obligations such as the ‘obligation to cooperate’ and the ‘duty of due diligence’, as applied to marine resources. Accordingly, this chapter concludes by considering how these concepts could be combined and related to more concrete obligations in order to be made more effective.

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