Master of Law Czarski Miriam

126000 €

The Turning of the Tide in the Anthropocene: Navigating the ecosystem approach via Arctic marine governance

Tieteellinen tutkimus / siihen pohjautuva työ | Nelivuotinen

The project concerns the relationship between the ecosystem approach (EA), which embodies the complexity of nature, and international law. To this end, a general case study is conducted of the Arctic Ocean which has been selected due to its exceptional biodiversity, heightened sensitivity to environmental change and global significance. The EA has received support as the key strategy for the conservation of nature. This transdisciplinary concept aims to link legal structures and ecology to holistically protect organisms and their habitats (together known as ecosystems), rather than as isolated elements or species. Despite the exceeding importance of the EA, the legal scholarship is sparse; this is even more so in relation to the Arctic. The project will thus investigate the theoretical meaning and practical implications of the EA under international law for the Arctic Ocean. In particular, how the EA is conceptualized under international law, how the regional and global frameworks applicable to the Arctic Ocean affect the EA, and the scope for these frameworks to support the EA in the region. Under the practical discussion, two sub-case studies will be pursued: the first will address the soft law nature of the regional framework by zooming in on the Arctic Council (a soft law regional institution), and the second will concern the jurisdiction - assigning role of the global framework by concentrating on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (a binding global instrument). The research will adopt a multi-method approach (doctrinal, socio-legal and law and science). It will contribute to the discussion on the legal transition required to conserve and sustainably use Arctic marine ecosystems in the face of intensifying climate change and anthropogenic activities, as well as more broadly the social and economic transformation which societies in the Arctic and beyond- who rely on the ability of ecosystems to provide services- will have to undergo in the future.