Environmental justice for oceans
Innledning ved Agnès Michelot, Senior Lecturer in Public Law at the Faculty of Law, Political Sciences and Management of the Université de La Rochelle (France).
The « high seas » could be seen as the last areas not (officially) dominated by States or private sector. ABNJ cover around half of the planet’s surface. These areas play a crucial role in the climate of our planet, participating to the exchange of quantities of energy and water with the atmopshere, influencing air temperature and rainfall. They represent also a vast reservoir of biodiversity poorly known. But threats against these are areas have grown: illegal fishing, oil and noise pollution, deep-sea mining, etc. Also, the increase of heat content in the ocean affects its exchanges with the atmosphere, especially the exchange of heat and water vapour, and the global hydrological cycle is intensified. The main marine currents are altered.
The international community engaged discussion on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in ANBJ under the auspices of the United General Assembly and of an ad-hoc Open-ended Informal Working Group. Many issues should be considered including marine genetic resources, area-based management tools, environmental impact assessment, capacity-building and transfer of technology. But in all these dimensions environmental justice should be questioned. Justice not only between States and between individuals but justice for the present and future of human race. Justice for humankind is based on the right of future generations and the general interest to humanity. Finally, justice for nature should be raised taking into account intrinsic value of ecosystems and the need to maintain ecological processes.
Agnès Michelot is a Senior Lecturer in Public Law at the Université de La Rochelle (France) and the Director of its Centre of Juridical and Political Studies (CEJEP). She specialises in international environmental law. She is chairing the French Society for Environmental Law and she is an associate member of the Economic Social and Environmental Council in France. She is also associate professor to Laval University (Canada). Her axes of research are: international environmental law and comparative environmental law, climate justice and environmental justice, biodiversity law, natural risks in coastal areas and ecologic refugees.