The conservation of biological diversity represents a major challenge for modern societies. Research offers the fundamental information to advance and integrate our knowledge on ecological systems, their processes and interactions. Yet, the transfer of scientific knowledge and results represents a critical step towards enhancing conservation efficiency. Here, we use sea turtle research, as an example to test the potential and dynamics of international scientific cooperation reflecting the advancement of knowledge. The selection of sea turtles as a case study was mainly based on two factors. First, they represent a highly mobile group of species with cosmopolitan distribution that cross geopolitical borders, policies and agreements. Second, encouraging evidence on global population recovery are increasingly presented. We used research publications on sea turtles (from 1967 since 2016) as the main product of scientific knowledge, to develop a series of co-authorship networks. Countries that were mentioned in authors’ affiliations were used as nodes, with two nodes being connected if authors of these countries had collaborated as co-authors in a publication. The properties of the co-authorship networks revealed that sea turtle scientific collaboration networks are ] getting larger and spreading constantly over different countries through time. Network metrics revealed a robust and coherent network supported by numerous countries. Our results showed a steady flow of scientific information among countries within sea turtle research communities, a factor that might have contributed to the encouraging evidence on sea turtle population trends observed globally. This analysis highlights the potential benefits generated by international collaborations reflecting the integration of skills, scientific backgrounds and knowledge.
Transboundary Planning and Management
The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) hosted its sixth annual South China Sea conference in July 2016. The conference provided four panels of highly respected experts from 10 countries with a first opportunity to assess the results of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea tribunal ruling and begin to measure its impact. This report contains papers by 11 of the panelists, providing a wide array of perspectives on the political, legal, military, and environmental outlook for the South China Sea in 2016.
Transboundary water systems cover a substantial area of the planet and provide critical ecosystem services for much of the global population. The International Waters (IW) Focal Area of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) aims to improve cooperation among countries in governance of transboundary water systems. There is the need to assess the outcomes, outputs and impacts of GEF IW initiatives. The current Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis/Strategic Action Programme approach of the GEF uses indicators in three categories – process, stress and state. A Transboundary Waters Governance Assessment Framework is proposed that incorporates the three above indicator categories and includes four new indicator categories: governance architecture, stakeholder engagement, social justice and human well-being. These additional categories are considered necessary to bring assessment of GEF IW initiatives in line with current governance thinking. The indicator categories are sequential, starting with governance architecture and ending with human well-being as the ultimate objective.
The changing Arctic sea-ice cover is likely to impact the trans-border exchange of sea ice between the exclusive economic zones (EEZs) of the Arctic nations, affecting the risk of ice-rafted contamination. We apply the Lagrangian Ice Tracking System (LITS) to identify sea-ice formation events and track sea ice to its melt locations. Most ice (52%) melts within 100 km of where it is formed; ca. 21% escapes from its EEZ. Thus, most contaminants will be released within an ice parcel's originating EEZ, while material carried by over 1 00,000 km2 of ice—an area larger than France and Germany combined—will be released to other nations' waters. Between the periods 1988–1999 and 2000–2014, sea-ice formation increased by ∼17% (roughly 6 million km2 vs. 5 million km2 annually). Melting peaks earlier; freeze-up begins later; and the central Arctic Ocean is more prominent in both formation and melt in the later period. The total area of ice transported between EEZs increased, while transit times decreased: for example, Russian ice reached melt locations in other nations' EEZs an average of 46% faster while North American ice reached destinations in Eurasian waters an average of 37% faster. Increased trans-border exchange is mainly a result of increased speed (∼14% per decade), allowing first-year ice to escape the summer melt front, even as the front extends further north. Increased trans-border exchange over shorter times is bringing the EEZs of the Arctic nations closer together, which should be taken into account in policy development—including establishment of marine-protected areas.
Plain Language Summary
We use data from satellite images to identify the formation, drift tracks, and melt locations of sea ice in the Arctic. Most ice melts locally: only about 21% is exported from the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in which it is formed. That export is nonetheless about 1,000,000 km2 each year. As the ice cover has thinned and the summer sea ice has retreated in a warming Arctic, formation and melt locations have moved further north, ice drifts have accelerated, and the area of ice formation and melt has increased. We looked at ice formation and transport between the EEZs of the Arctic nations, and broke the record into two periods: 1988–1999 and 2000–2014. As the Arctic warms, more ice is transported between EEZs and it is arriving at the receiving EEZ faster, than in the past. Between the two study periods: Sea ice velocity increased by about 14%/decade; Russian ice reached melt locations in other nations' EEZs 46% faster; and North American ice reached Eurasian destinations 37% faster. Exchanges of ice have increased as a result. For example, export of ice from Russia to Norway increased by 11% and export from Alaska to Russia by 16%.
The ‘Study on International Best Practices for Cross-Border MSP’ has been designed to assist the European Commission (EC) and Member States in the implementation of the MSP Directive through the identification of good practices of MSP, with a particular focus on cross-border cooperation; and to elaborate recommendations that can support the promotion and exchange of MSP at the international level, relevant to the implementation of the EC International Ocean Governance Agenda.
Over the last few years, an increasing number of nations have begun to implement MSP at various scales, from local initiatives to transnational efforts, motivated by opportunities for new maritime industries, the reversal of negative environmental trends and the improved coordination of sectors among others. In Europe, the European Directive to establish a framework for MSP (the “MSP Directive”) is considered as a step forward in the adoption of MSP principles and good practices by EU Member States. This directive can support not only a more efficient sustainable development of marine and coastal resources, but also strengthen cross-border cooperation, and therefore improve ocean governance.
This study has centred its work on four main objectives or phases: Firstly, the review of existing guidance and MSP processes, and compilation of a detailed inventory of MSP implementation outside the EU, the Study’s ‘Global MSP Inventory’, 1 which provides a description of MSP processes and identifies common practice, including approaches to cross-border cooperation. Secondly, an in-depth comparative analysis of four case studies of MSP implementation, 2 including literature review, site visits and key informant interviews, that identifies lessons learned in MSP, and good practices in support of cross-border cooperation. Thirdly, the formulation of recommendations on the international exchange of MSP, including recommendations on the application of MSP in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ). Fourthly, the presentation of preliminary findings at the 2nd International MSP Conference (March 2017, Paris), partly coordinated and supported by the Study team.
This report presents the final publication of the Study and presents findings associated with these four objectives.
Different legal frameworks and concepts have been used to establish coastal zone boundaries. Integrated Coastal Zone Management use some criteria, while Land-Use Planning use a different criteria. A critical analysis about this topic is done in the present study, with the aim of proposing a novel method for delimitation and demarcation of coastal zone boundaries. The method offers an integrated perspective regarding the river basin, the coastal zone, and their corresponding economic zones. Moreover, it is comprised of dependent and independent variables, representing useful decision-making tools for applying Integrated Coastal Zone Management and Land-Use Planning initiatives. The concepts of Primary Environmental Coastal Units for Integrated Management (PECUIM) and Basic Environmental Coastal Units for Integrated Management and Land-Use Planning (BECUIMLUP) were proposed and applied in Cuba, where twenty-three PECUIM and four BECUIMLUP were demarcated and delimitated. At the end of this paper, the importance of integrated criteria for coastal zone boundaries is concluded and demonstrated.
The European Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) aims at implementing a precautionary and holistic ecosystem-based approach for managing European marine waters. Marine mammals are included as a functional group for the assessment and reporting under Descriptor 1-Biodiversity. Conservation of mobile marine megafauna such as cetaceans requires transboundary cooperation, which the MSFD promotes through regional instruments, such as the Regional Sea Conventions and other regional cooperation structures such as ACCOBAMS (Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans of the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Contiguous Atlantic Area). A questionnaire survey and an exploratory analysis of MSFD implementation in the Mediterranean and Black Seas were conducted. The analysis revealed (i) the saliency of cetacean conservation, and (ii) heterogeneity among countries in the implementation of the MSFD that may hinder transboundary collaboration. ACCOBAMS can stimulate collaboration among scientists involved in cetacean monitoring and can foster transboundary initiatives that would align with MSFD objectives.
Because seas and coastlines are shared between states, the formulation and implementation of marine spatial planning (MSP) should be transboundary by nature. The main argument of this paper is that MSP should be organized as a transboundary policy-making process, but this is hampered by the conceptual and institutional fragmentation MSP is facing. Based on an analysis of four transboundary planning processes in different European seas, the paper gives insight into the possibilities to develop and implement transboundary marine spatial planning (TMSP). To overcome the conceptual and institutional challenges, TMSP should be developed as a reflexive governance arrangement, in which the actors involved are able to change the rules of the game and to challenge the existing (national-oriented) MSP discourses. The paper develops four forms of reflexivity (unreflectiveness; performative reflectiveness; structural reflectiveness; and reflexivity) to assess TMSP processes and to formulate conditions which are crucial to develop TMSP as a reflexive marine governance arrangement.
Spatial boundaries have become an indispensable part of regimes and tools for regulating fisheries, with examples including marine protected areas, regional fisheries management organizations and Exclusive Economic Zones. Yet, it is also widely acknowledged that boundaries are a social construct, which may be resisted by both fishers and fish ecology. The ensuing spatial and institutional mismatches have been shown to frustrate management efforts, exacerbating issues of non-compliance and ultimately leading to conflicts and overfishing. Interestingly, the often static and rigid nature of these boundaries has also led to a concomitant research interest in ‘transboundary’. This paradoxical situation of more boundary-setting entailing more transboundary thinking warrants a deeper understanding about boundaries and the role of transboundary research in fisheries. The aims of this review article are twofold: (1) a theoretical clarification on the meanings and uses of spatial boundaries drawing on geographical “boundary studies” literature; and (2) a construction of a typology that outlines how transboundary research is being articulated and envisioned. Together, the study reveals that transboundary scholarship in fisheries are mostly related to resources, fleets, trade and governance aspects and that dealing with the “boundary paradox” encompasses re-incorporating, re-scaling and re-imagining of boundaries. This article provides a conceptual basis for reflecting upon boundaries in world's fisheries and opens up discussions for a more nuanced boundary application that can better cope with multi-level interactions and dynamicity.
The fates of “transboundary” environmental systems depend on how nation states interact with one another. In the absence of a hegemon willing and able to coerce other states into avoiding a “tragedy of the commons,” shared environments will be safeguarded if international cooperation succeeds and degraded or even destroyed if it fails. Treaties and related institutions of international law give form to these efforts to cooperate. Often, they implore states to act in their collective (as opposed to their national) interests. Sometimes, they impel cooperating states to punish free riders. A few agreements coordinate states’ behavior. Here, I present simple game-theoretic models showing whether and how treaties and related institutions can change incentives, aligning states’ self-interests with their collective interests. I show that, as a general matter, states struggle to cooperate voluntarily and enforce agreements to cooperate but that they find it relatively easy to coordinate actions. In some cases, the need for coordination is manifest. In other cases, it requires strategic thinking. Coordination may fall short of supporting an ideal outcome, but it nearly always works better than the alternatives.