Co-developing a transformative interpretation of international law on the protection of the marine environment and human rights: a reflection on the experience of the One Ocean Hub

By Elisa Morgera

“This chapter reflects on collective interpretative practices of non-judicial actors across scales: UN and other international bodies that provide advisory services to States on how to implement international law, researcher-activists that seek to respond to pressing sociocultural and environmental injustices at the local and national level by relying on international law, as well as civil society and human rights holders. The chapter reflects in particular on how these actors are increasingly working together to co-develop evolutive interpretations based on local experiences of lack of sustainability and injustices, inter-disciplinary scientific evidence, and Indigenous and local knowledge systems. These interpretations aim to influence public authorities towards the transformation of environmental governance into more inclusive, sustainable and fair practices. The chapter focuses on a specific area of interpretation codevelopment related to the protection of human rights that are dependent on a healthy ocean. It takes as a case study the One Ocean Hub – a programme of research for sustainable development that brought together a variety of non-judicial actors to co-develop mutually supportive interpretations of international environmental law, the law of the sea and international human rights law. The chapter concludes with a reflection on how interpretation co-development across scales can be institutionalised under treaty law, as a participatory approach to monitoring, evaluation and learning, that can be embedded in treaty bodies devoted to the review of implementation and/or to technical and scientific advice…”

Photo: Dimitris Vetsikas from Pixabay