The Rule of Law for Oceans in Oslo, 4-5 November 2019

Is law fit for the purpose of protecting oceans against increasing pressures and demands?

This two-day conference aims at analyzing new trends in the law of the sea, international environmental law, and related fields of law, and discussions related to the effectiveness of certain tools and mechanisms.

Registration closed - deadline was Friday 25 October

Full Programme - please note, minor changes/updates may occur

Programme overview

Day 1

9.00                 Registration/coffee

9.30-9.45         Welcome (JUS/NIFS, NIVA)

9.45-10.15       Opening remarks (Alla Pozdnakova and Froukje Maria Platjouw)

10.15- 10.45    Ronan Long, WMU-Sasakawa Global Ocean Institute, Keynote

10.45 – 12.15      In search for the Rule of Law for Oceans/Plenary Session 1 (Chair: Ronan Long, tbc)

12:15-12:20 A brief look at the law of the sea research at the Scandinavian Institute of Maritime Law

13.15- 13.45   Seline Trevisanut, University of Utrecht

A Three-Fold Approach to Regime Interaction In Ocean Governance/Keynote

Session 2a – Critical perspectives on ocean governance (Chair: Seline Trevisanut)

Session 2b – Tackling Multiple Pressures (Chair: Alla Pozdnakova)

Session 3a – Balancing the exploitation and preservation of marine resources (Chair: Henrik Ringbom)

Session 3b Paths towards effective ocean governance and compliance (Chair: Anna Petrig)

17.15-17.30     Outlook to day 2

17-30 -             Reception and networking for the speakers

9.30-10.00       Kjell Kristian Egge, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norway, Keynote

Session 4a        Areas beyond national jurisdiction (Chair: Kjell Kristian Egge)

Session 4b       Designing legal solutions for the oceans in change (Chair: Froukje Maria Platjouw)

12.30-13.00  Prof. Christina Voigt, University of Oslo Climate Change, the Role of Oceans and the Rule of Law (Keynote)

Session 5a Climate change and oceans (Chair: Christina Voigt)

Session 5b –  Regional perspectives  (Chair: Erik Røsæg)

15.30-17.00  Plenary Session 6/Rule of Law for Changing Oceans: mapping out the way forward


The Research Group on International Law and Governance (University of Oslo, Law Faculty) and the Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA) organize this conference to advance discussions on the gaps and challenges in law related to the protection of oceans, and to bring forward novel legal approaches and solutions.  

The oceans are under increasing pressure from climate change, (micro)plastic pollution, loss of biodiversity, habitat destruction, unsustainable use, to name but a few, which all adversely affect the resilience of our oceans.  UN Sustainable Development Goal 14 specifically requires us to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources. Key to sustainable ocean governance is the understanding of ecosystem functioning and the appreciation of interactions and interconnections among marine ecosystems, land and sea, oceans and climate, and interactions between marine and other types of ecosystems. Changes in the ecosystem functioning and resilience often have consequences far beyond in time and geographical scope and require robust but flexible and comprehensive regulatory solutions and approaches.

International law, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Convention on Biological Diversity, provides for a framework governing States’ rights and obligations with respect to the use of oceans and their resources, protection of the environment and biodiversity as well as responsibility for the damage caused to the oceans arising from unlawful activities of different actors. Regional agreements such as OSPAR and HELCOM have similar purposes for regional seas. National legal systems also play a crucial role in the implementation of international and regional obligations. The legal system is fragmented and comprehensive, but is the law ripe for protecting oceans in the face of increasing environmental challenges and human demands? Are legal frameworks effective, strong, and flexible enough to address new challenges and pressures in light of advanced scientific knowledge and understanding of oceans? This conference aims to discuss and reflect on how we could strengthen the rule of law for Oceans.

Where can existing laws evolve, adapt and improve? And where do we have to think afresh? Which innovative approaches and mechanisms are being adopted or under discussion and what could be their advantages?

About the speakers

Kjell Kristian Egge is International Law Adviser in the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Egge has been Norwegian Career Diplomat since 1995 and held different positions in the Legal Department of the Norwegian Ministry for Foreign Affairs since 2003. He has worked extensively on Law of the Sea and Arctic Issues, including heading Norwegian delegations to various United Nations and Arctic processes. Egge is the Head of delegation to the ongoing UN BBNJ negotiations


The organizing committee,

Alla Pozdnakova                                Froukje Maria Platjouw     

Faculty of Law, University of Oslo       Faculty of Law, University of Oslo,  Norwegian Institute for Water Research            


Tags: Rule of Law, Ocean
Published May 9, 2019 3:43 PM - Last modified Oct. 30, 2019 3:47 PM