This section focuses on the technical making of marine environmental law and policy, a subset of ocean law and policy, in the context of the intergovernmental bodies where ACOPS is an institutional observer.

Two characteristics of the development of marine environmental law and policy that are also logistic and organisational difficulties to anyone engaged in this field, are that this development needs to encompass two dimensions that are not easily manageable in parallel:

(1) a body-specific approach to the development of marine environment law and policy. This approach can be sectoral (i.e. IMO for shipping), regional (i.e. the Arctic Council and OSPAR) or topic specific (within the mandate of the body, i.e. the London Convention and its Protocol). A such, this approach focuses on developments under the auspices of intergovernmental bodies, each of which having its own mandate, rules of procedure, practices and idiosyncrasies and a specialised community. 

This approach is the focus of this section on the making of ocean law and policy.

(2) an issue-specific approach of marine environmental issues which focuses on understanding each issue (e.g. the impact of climate change, ocean acidification, marine plastics, underwater noise, sensitive areas and species, etc.). This approach includes an important component of marine sciences. Marine environmental issues are more often than not cross-sectoral by nature, meaning that they are not specific to one sector of activity at sea or one intergovernmental body. They also often extend beyond a particular regional ocean basin.

These are the subject of another tab of this website ‘Focus areas’, where we discuss the work of each of ACOPS WGs.