The vulnerable and sensitive Arctic ecosystems are affected by climate change and by increasing human activities. With rapid changes and uncertainties, there is a need for urgent measures to ensure socio-ecological resilience and good ocean governance. The project therefore investigates the capacity of the existing legal framework in providing for sustainable development of the marine Arctic.
The primary objective of the project is to contribute to good governance of the marine Arctic by critically investigating the implementation of EA in Norway. The subsidiary objective is to propose a set of best practices or recommendations that could be applied to foster the implementation of EA in the Arctic region on a general level.
The project investigates the ecosystem approach (EA) to ocean governance as a key strategy for sustainable development. The project examines how ecosystem approach can be implemented within the legal framework and provide for adaptive, integrated and holistic management without undermining the rule of law and such core values as accountability, participation, legal certainty and predictability.
As the implementation of ecosystem approach hinges on the choices made by individual states, the project predominantly focuses on regulations applicable to and within the Arctic waters under the Norwegian jurisdiction. As the ecosystems of the marine Arctic as well as the effects of human activities are transboundary, the Norwegian law is investigated in the context of global and regional law and policy.
Science is a critical component to EA. The project thus investigates how law and science can be integrated to provide for adaptive governance. Furthermore it examines whether and how EA is implemented into the sectors of fisheries, shipping/tourism, hydrocarbons and new activities. Possible mechanisms for implementing EA, as well as the potential of implementing EA across jurisdictions through cooperation with other states, are also assessed.