Mitchell Lennan
Hub-led special issue for The International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law

After a competitive selection process, the line-up of topics and contributors has been confirmed for a special issue of the International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law in 2023, to advance legal research on the ocean-climate nexus and its relationship with human rights. We welcome comments and questions that can be explored by the authors of the special issue, who will meet virtually in early December to take stock of COP27 outcomes and our own learning in that process.

Our Selected articles include:

  • Ocean-Based Climate Action by Elisa Morgera, Bernadette Snow, and Mitchell Lennan of One Ocean Hub and Kati Kulovesi and Eugenia Rocio at University of Eastern Finland

This introductory article maps options for ocean-based solutions to climate change mitigation and means of implementation, including opportunities for blue carbon markets, as well as options for ocean-based solutions to climate change adaptation and implications for means of implementation, such as finance, technology transfer and capacity building for the ocean; setting a future research agenda.

Progress under other international regimes
  • The need to address the relationship between climate and human rights in the context of the proposed legally binding instrument on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ) by multiple authors from the One Ocean Hub  
  • International legal responses for protecting small-scale fishers’ human rights impacted by a changing ocean by Julia Nakamura and Mitchell Lennan of the One Ocean Hub and Julia Weston of Universidade Catótilca Portuguesa and Instituto Brasileiro de Direito do Mar

This article deepens the analysis on the nexus between Law of the Sea and International Climate Law and its relationship with Human Rights Law to understand the safeguards based on which small-scale fishers could claim for the protection of their human rights affected by climate change. 

  • Due diligence obligations under the law of the sea and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child – protecting children’s rights at the ocean-climate nexus by Elisa Morgera, Alana Lancaster and Mitchell Lennan of the One Ocean Hub and Angeliki Papantoniou of Queen Mary University
  • The Proposed Global Plastics Treaty: opportunities for elevating rights protection in the rights-ocean nexus by Noreen O’Meara, University of Surrey

This article addresses why explicit rights framing matters in the specific context of the proposed Global Plastics Treaty, and consider the opportunities this offers for shaping the future governance of plastics at international, regional and national levels.

  • Seabed mining through the lenses of climate justice and human rights by Pradeep A. Singh, Malaysia, Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies

This article argues that concerns of the ocean-climate-biodiversity nexus, ocean health degradation, biodiversity loss, transboundary harm, participation and consent, and the potential adverse impacts on terrestrial mining arising out of seabed mining activities should all be considered as human rights issues as well as matters of distress from a global justice or equity viewpoint. 

  • Greening and humanizing the Blue Economy: The Role of International Economic Law by Harisankar K. Sathyapalan, Cochin University of Science and Technology

This article will look at the interaction between the law of the sea and international economic law in the context of ocean-based climate actions because while the law of the sea is generally sympathetic to protecting the marine environment, trade and investment regimes have not traditionally prioritised climate goals. 

Progress through international dispute bodies
  • The Salience of Salt Water: Can a Court Save the Seas? By Lianne Baars, University of Leiden

The article explores how an advisory opinion from the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea could support international efforts to combat climate change and ocean acidification, including with a view to protecting human rights. 

  • Torres Strait Islanders and the Demand for Indigenous Climate Protection by Freya Doughty

This article analyses the case Torres Strait versus Australia as a prime example of human rights issues situated at the ocean-climate nexus. It looks into the need for providing a sufficient remedy, taking proactive steps to halt sea level rise and prevent islanders from becoming “refugees in [their] own country.” [

  • Ocean-based Strategic Climate Change Litigation: the UNCLOS Compulsory Dispute Settlement Mechanism as an Alternative Option? by Bin Zhao, Max Planck Institute.

This article aims to point out that UNCLOS compulsory dispute settlement mechanism could be promising under certain conditions in light of the unique characteristics of the “compulsory dispute settlement” to fully address the inherent connection between the ocean and climate change.