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Ocean Group Seminar Series 2021 Biological diversity facing climate change


The purpose of this lecture is to question the ability of the LOSC, as a “living instrument”, to develop effective responses to limit the loss of marine biodiversity in a context of climate change.

27 May 2021
11:00 - 12:00
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Odile Delfour-Samama
Department of Law

Oceans play a major role in the regulation of the global climate system. At the same time, physical changes have a combination of direct and indirect impacts on marine biodiversity e.g., ocean acidification threatens the survival of coral reefs ecosystems. Changing currents, water temperatures and ice formations pose obstacles to the migration patterns of several species, including pelagic fish, marine mammals and seabirds.

There is no mention of climate change in the Law of the Sea Convention (LOSC) which was negotiated at a time when climate change was not yet part of the international agenda. The same is true for the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity or the 1995 Fish Stocks Agreement. More surprisingly, there is no significant reference to climate change in the Revised draft text of an agreement on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction. At the same time, the climate change regime pays little attention to the conservation of marine biodiversity.

About the speaker

Odile Delfour-Samama is an Assistant Professor at the Maritime and Oceanic Law Center in the University of Nantes. She is also the co-director Institut Universitaire Mer & Littoral She has published extensively in areas related to the law of the sea.

Odile’s research interests are marine environmental law, marine protected areas, fisheries law, marine genetic resources, and ocean governance.