The role of non-state actors in treaty regimes for the protection of marine biodiversity

Elizabeth A. Kirk

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
250 Downloads (Pure)


Recent discoveries of the richness of life around deep ocean hydrothermal vents vividly highlight the relative lack of understanding of the resources of the oceans and of the impacts of human activity on them coupled with the rapid rate of expansion of activities and consequent threats to marine biodiversity. These discoveries also raise hard questions about how best to manage and conserve these resources. As these questions arise so do questions about who has authority to make decisions about the future of the myriad of species that combine to make up the biodiversity of the oceans. Will legal regimes be effective if established by States alone? Is there a need for other actors to be engaged in decision-making or in the development of the regimes? If there is a need then what should the nature of that involvement be?
Most regimes aimed at protecting marine biodiversity demonstrate a willingness to engage with non-State actors in the development or implementation of the regimes. Indeed in international law more generally, non-State actors have been involved in the development and implementation of the law for a considerable length of time. Their role has gone through various stages with their influence ebbing and flowing across the decades. More recently the perception has been both that the influence of non-State actors and NGOs in particular, has increased and that their role ought to be enhanced. This chapter examines the provision for non-State actor involvement in the legal regimes concerned with the conservation of marine biodiversity. Non-state actors do of course engage with decision-making processes in other less formal ways, lobbying States for example. While the importance of such activities is acknowledged, this chapter focuses solely on formal engagement with non-State actors.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearch handbook on biodiversity and law
EditorsMichael Bowman, Peter Davies, Edward Goodwin
Place of PublicationNorthampton, MA
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing
Number of pages28
ISBN (Electronic)9781781004791
ISBN (Print)9781781004784
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2016

Publication series

NameResearch handbooks in environmental law
PublisherEdward Elgar


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