18
May
2021

WMU Co-Hosts Conference on Oceans Law & Policy: Peaceful Maritime Engagement in East Asia and the Pacific Region

From 10-12 May, WMU co-hosted the world-wide Conference on Oceans Law & Policy: Peaceful Maritime Engagement in East Asia and the Pacific Region that took place virtually. Co-hosts included the Japanese Institute of International Affairs, the International Sasakawa Peace Foundation, and the Stockton Center for International Law at the United States Naval War College

The Conference was opened by Dr. Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, President of the World Maritime University, Dr. Hide Sakaguchi, President of the Ocean Policy Research Institute of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation (SPF) and Ambassador Kenichiro Sasae, President of The Japan Institute of International Affairs, following the welcoming remarks by Professor Myron Nordquist and Professor James Kraska from the Stockton Center for International Law, US Naval War College. The conference programme featured keynote speeches by Judge Shunji Yanai of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea and Mr. Michael Lodge, Secretary-General of the International Seabed Authority, and an Official from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.

H.E. Laurent Parenté, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Vanuatu to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), also contributed to the discussion regarding Preservation of the Marine Environment, including the Hazard of Plastic Debris. Ambassador Parenté is an esteemed member of the WMU Board of Governors and an experienced champion for the ocean and the work of the IMO.  He is a strong advocate for capacity-building at the World Maritime University in maritime and ocean affairs. 

In her opening remarks, President Doumbia-Henry noted the strength of the annual Conference on Oceans Law & Policy that has brought together the world’s top experts in ocean law, policy and governance for the past 44 years. She highlighted WMU research through the WMU-Sasakawa Global Ocean Institute that is related to the conference discussion areas including the impact of sea level rise on baselines, including those of archipelagic and small-island developing States, on the peaceful resolution of maritime boundary disputes, on issues related to Arctic navigation, addressing the challenges raised by marine litter, especially plastic waste and on the negotiation of an international legally binding instrument relating to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction.

Professor Ronan Long, Director of the WMU-Sasakawa Global Ocean Institute, noted the conference represents a unique opportunity to bring together senior representatives of governments, some of the world’s leading scholars in their respective fields, and experts from industry and civil society to explore contemporary issues in the region. 

Topics addressed throughout the event included:  Baselines and Archipelagic States; Navigation Rights/Law Enforcement; Arctic Shipping; East China Sea Maritime Boundaries; Maritime Security Issues Concerning Small Island States; Preservation of the Marine Environment, including the Hazard of Plastic Debris; and Issues Arising Out of Climate Change. The conference proceedings will be published by Brill and distributed worldwide.


About the Annual Conference on Oceans Law and Policy

The annual Conference on Oceans Law & Policy is an annual high level conference that brings together the world’s top experts in ocean law, policy and governance with aim to bridge and promote interdisciplinary interaction by governments, intergovernmental organizations, industry and non-governmental organizations as well as academia with ocean-related legal and public policy issues at all levels, addressing international, national, regional, and state concerns. The conference was established and formerly administered by the Center for Oceans Law & Policy, University of Virginia School of Law for 44 years and is now being administered via the Stockton Center for International Law. See more about past conferences here.


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