Outstanding issues with
regimes for oceans
The consideration of ‘outstanding issues’ with respect to regimes for oceans governance invites two, complementary, interpretations. The first is the need to examine unresolved issues; the second the extent to which achievement in a range of ocean regimes over the past three decades can be seen as a remarkable example of global and regional governance. It can be argued that much needs to be done, but it is also clear that one of the more significant achievements of the world community has been the negotiation and (eventual) entry into force of the Law of the Sea Convention (LOSC) and its related instruments.
Despite the obvious difficulties in achieving ratification of the LOSC—the 12-year period from the Convention being opened for signature and its entry into force—it remains a comprehensive regime for oceans governance; ‘a constitution for the oceans’. 1 Like all constitutions the LOSC is evolving, and will continue to evolve. Recent developments including the establishment of the ‘tripartite key institutions’ under the LOSC (the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea; the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf; and the International Seabed Authority) are milestones in the evolution of legal regimes. 2 This chapter begins with a brief survey of general issues related to oceans governance before considering outstanding issues and future directions.