Fisheries co-management is an increasingly globalized concept, and a cornerstone of the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication, adopted by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization member states in 2014. Timor-Leste is a politically young country in the relatively rare position of having underexploited fisheries in some areas that can be leveraged to improve coastal livelihood outcomes and food and nutrition security. The collaborative and decentralized characteristics of co-management appeal to policymakers in Timor-Leste with provisions for co-management and customary laws applied to resource use were incorporated into state law in 2004 and again reinforced in 2012 revisions. The first fisheries co-management pilots have commenced where management arrangements have been codified through tara bandu, a process of setting local laws built around ritual practice that prohibits nominated activities under threat of spiritual and material sanctions. To date, however, there has been little critical evaluation of the suitability or potential effectiveness of co-management or tara bandu in the Timor-Leste fisheries context. To address this gap, we adapted the interactive governance framework to review the ecological, social and governance characteristics of Timor-Leste’s fisheries to explore whether co-management offers a valid and viable resource governance model. We present two co-management case studies and examine how they were established, who was involved, the local institutional structures, and the fisheries governance challenges they sought to address. Despite their relative proximity, the two sites contrasted in local ecology and fishery type; community institutions were starkly different but equally strong; and one site had tangible economic benefits to justify compliance, where the other had marginal and anecdotal fishery gains. In our review of the broader governance landscape in Timor-Leste, we see co-management as a useful mechanism to govern small-scale fisheries, but there is a need to connect legitimized local institutions with hierarchical governance of higher and external influences. Initial successes with implementing tara banduincorporating a small marine closure have stimulated other communities to implement no-take zones – one universally popular but very limited interpretation of co-management. However, we highlight the need for a set of guiding principles to ensure legitimate community engagement, and avoid external appropriation that may reinforce marginalization of certain user groups or customary power hierarchies.
Governance and Legal Frameworks
The management and conservation of marine resources in Seychelles, a small island developing state (SIDS) in the western Indian Ocean, is fundamental to maintaining the flow of international visitors which forms the mainstay of the nation's economy. There is an increasing trend towards empowering non-governmental organisations and parastatal entities with protected area management responsibilities, which partly reflects the chronic underfunding of the state protected area management institution. This paper explores these and related issues through a governance analysis of Curieuse Marine National Park, which is the most popular state-owned marine national park in terms of recorded visitor numbers. This demonstrates that the inability to implement economic incentives through not fully capitalising on the use and non-use values of the park has deleterious consequences for managing the combined impacts of tourism and fisheries on the ecological assets of the park. Furthermore, the capacity of the state management institution is being eroded through a focus on the development of an extensive network of new marine protected areas under the direction of an international non-governmental organisation. Suggestions are made that could strengthen economic, participative and interpretative incentives to provide a more sustainable basis for marine national park management.
After a spout of optimism surrounding Myanmar's so-called democratic transition in the post-2010 period, civil-society organisations and academics are beginning to highlight rampant and violent resource grabs unfolding across the country. Delving into the Northern Tanintharyi landscape in the Southeast, this article aims to understand interrelated dynamics of coastal and agrarian transformation during the state-mediated capitalist transition of the past 30 years. Conceptually developing a landscape-approach that sees individual ‘grabs’ in a relational manner and as part of broader political-economic struggles, the article shows how the Myanmar military regime sought a conjoined ocean and land control-grab in pursuit of rent extraction from productive foreign capital in fisheries and off-shore gas sectors. Empirically, these dynamics are traced from the scale of regional geopolitical struggles down to two particular villages in Northern Tanintharyi – highlighting resulting processes of differentiation along lines of class and gender. This conceptual framework and explanation of drivers behind ocean and land control-grabbing, in turn, complicates prevalent policy solutions in Myanmar (and elsewhere) that reduce the question of resolving resource-grabs to the pursuit of an elusive ‘good governance’.
In December 2017, the United Nations General Assembly decided to convene an intergovernmental conference to elaborate an international legally binding instrument on marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction. This legally binding instrument would address four elements, namely marine protected areas, marine genetic resources, environmental impact assessments and capacity building and technology transfer. One of the indicators for the success of the legally binding instrument will be an institutional mechanism that is both effective and that can co-exist with existing mechanisms. There is already a proposal for an institutional mechanism under the implementing agreement. However, the proposed institutional mechanism was developed largely with marine protected areas in mind. The purpose of this article is to determine whether this proposed mechanism could work also for the marine genetic resources element of the proposed treaty. This is necessitated by the fact that the marine genetic resources element of the proposed treaty is far more complex and raises issues that are more intractable.
Private standard setting by non‐State actors has gained increasing attention and has expanded to regulating various activities. Maritime activities are no exception. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) sets private standards to govern maritime activities in cooperation with the International Maritime Organization. These ISO standards are incorporated in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea system and will likely play a more important role in the future. However, the relationship between these standards and the law of the sea has not yet been analysed. This article therefore examines the contribution of private standards, especially those set by the ISO, to ocean governance and evaluates this contribution from a global administrative law perspective. Since the ISO is the largest entity that sets private standards, it can serve as a model for other non‐State actors that set private standards to govern maritime activities.
Since the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015, several countries, funding organizations, environmental groups and research communities have pledged support and made commitment to help achieve these goals. SDG14: Life Below Water, for instance, has been embraced as the global goal for conservation and sustainable uses of the oceans, seas and marine resources. Among its many targets, SDG14b speaks directly to small-scale fisheries, calling for secured access to resources and markets for this sector. We argue that achieving SDG 14b requires a holistic approach encompassing several SDGs, including livelihoods, economic growth, community sustainability, strong institutions and partnerships. It is also important to align the SDG targets with the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries (SSF Guidelines), as the mutuality that exists between the scope and nature of the two instruments can help guide the formulation of appropriate governance tools. Yet, the alignment of these two instruments alone does not guarantee sustainability of small-scale fisheries, especially without an official mandate from the governments. The case in point is the European Union where small-scale fisheries are not sufficiently recognized within the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), despite being the largest sector (75% of the fleet). Through an examination of the CFP in the context of the SSF Guidelines and the SDGs, we discuss options and possibilities for inclusive consideration of small-scale fisheries in the upcoming policy reform, which might then lead to both achieving fisheries sustainability and the SDGs in the EU.
Regional ocean governance has been flagged as critical for successful achievement on SDG14 and other ocean related SDGs. The 20 ocean regions of the world are characterized by clusters of multilevel intergovernmental arrangements relating to EBM. Among the many needs for strengthening ocean governance in these regions is the development of effective regional integrating and coordinating mechanisms. These have been emerging somewhat organically. This study explores the clusters of regional agreements in the 20 regions to determine the extent to which integration mechanisms are in place or planned. It also looks at the extent to which the concept of governance polycentricity can be applied in these regions. Only four regions have established regional integration mechanisms thought to be needed for ecosystem-based management; while such mechanisms are planned in five others. Seven regions do have some level of intersectoral coordination such as within fisheries or environment or at a subregional level in a Large Marine Ecosystem (LME). Four regions show no sign of regional coordination. The study also the extent to which regional clusters of arrangements actually meet criteria for polycentricity based on governance theory. Regions have taken different approaches to regional integration mechanisms, but mostly based on working with a polycentric multilevel system of governance, rather than trying to tame it. There is both the need, and an untapped potential, for increased learning among regions regarding integration mechanisms and the polycentric structure and function of the regional clusters that they are seeking to integrate.
The importance of regional and subregional levels in global ocean governance is being increasingly recognised. Regional approaches are prominent in the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. The UN Environment Regional Seas Programme bodies focusing on pollution and biodiversity and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) regional fisheries bodies focusing on fisheries are the best known regional arrangements. However, there are other regional and subregional multilateral agreements that should be considered in building comprehensive regional ocean governance; in particular ‘indigenous’ agreements developed by the countries of the regions. This study examined 165 regional arrangements related to ecosystem-based management of oceans and allocated them into 20 regional clusters covering most of the world's oceans. The study explores the characteristics of these regional clusters which exhibit characteristics of polycentric systems. The suite of 20 regional clusters as well as global level oceans arrangements raises the question of whether there is an overall governance structure that should be pursued to strengthen ocean governance as envisaged in the Sustainable Development Goals and provide a holistic context for improving regional ocean governance. This study poses the question as to whether polycentric regional clusters can provide the ‘missing link’ for achieving global ocean governance objectives and whether these clusters are more than just the sum of their arrangements.
There is general consensus that claimants to the South China Sea (SCS) should set aside territorial disputes and cooperate to preserve the natural resources of the sea. These resources are vital to millions of fishermen and consumers but are severely overexploited. Failure to prevent further exploitation or replenish stocks will exacerbate tensions in the SCS as countries compete for dwindling resources. Understanding how and where to start cooperating is a topic of much debate, and few ideas have gained enough traction for implementation. This report suggests that agreements can be built from existing commonalities in national laws and policies concerning fisheries and the marine environment. Utilizing these commonalities could help to build confidence by showing that despite disputes, there are in fact similarities and areas of alignment. This would not only build confidence but may serve as a less contentious route toward cooperation, because countries are agreeing - at a regional level - on criteria they already agree on at a national level. This concept is explored by looking at the fisheries and marine environmental laws and policies of China, Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia.
The coastal zone offers many goods and services ranging from production to recreation and protection. During the last half century, human interventions on the Romanian Black Sea coast have abruptly changed the natural trends of coastal evolution, increasing erosion rates on many coastal sectors and transforming the natural landscape with major impact on coastal ecosystems. This required decision makers to develop effective coastal and marine conservation regulations and programs. This paper uses Evolutionary Governance Theory (EGT) as a conceptual framework to examine the currently emerging governance issues, due to the growing pressure from increasingly diverse human activities coupled with climate change impacts, that threaten the functional integrity of the coastal ecosystems. A proper evaluation and understanding of the policy framework helped us to identify the prerequisites for participative management. Results indicate that the legislation is sectorial, the competences are overlapping and the responsibilities are scattered. The analysis shows that policies related to governance of coastal and marine resources are not well synchronized and they signal an important gap in policy. Input from stakeholders helps us to understand some of the failures that are not present in the literature, since most of them occur at the local level.