Cities in Law of the Sea: A Neglected Link


Ocean Group Seminar Series 2022 - Exploration of the ocean-city nexus at the interface of sustainability.

21 okt 2022
11:00 - 12:00
Hybrid: Room Malmstensvåningen and ZOOM
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Dr. Aleke Stöfen-O’Brien


Ocean cities operate at the intersection of land- and sea-based human activities, such as trade, agriculture, industry and urban development. The regulatory framework of this intersection is very complex in nature and includes a variety of different actors and legal regimes. Cities have been growing extremely fast in the last decade (2.3 per cent annually) and take up more than 1.5 per cent of earth’s surface. Cities are placed at an important nexus between the sources of the socio-ecological crisis caused by overconsumption and production, while at the same time also being a place of regulatory solutions with significant potential to create change.

This research seminar aims to explore the ocean-city nexus at the interface of sustainability. For this purpose, a conceptual understanding of what may constitute the ocean-city nexus and an ocean city will be discussed. This analysis includes an account of how cities are being addressed as subjects of public international law and how strategies may be developed to explicitly provide a marine dimension to the on-going work on sustainable cities on a global level. The focus is placed on the ocean-city nexus through the sustainability lens and touches upon broader challenges of addressing cities as actors in international public law.


About the speaker:


Dr. Aleke Stöfen-O’Brien, LLM is an Assistant Professor at the WMU-Sasakawa Global Ocean Institute, World Maritime University in Malmö, Sweden. Her research interests include the law of the sea, marine environmental protection and sustainable ocean governance. Her work focuses in particular on plastic pollution and equity questions in (ocean) governance. Prior to joining the WMU-Sasakawa Global Ocean Institute, Aleke served as Scientific Officer in the Marine Unit of the Federal Environment Agency of the Federal Republic of Germany. Dr. Stöfen-O’Brien has extensive professional experience working for the Secretariat for the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Montréal, Canada, the University of Trier, the Marine Unit of Directorate-General Environment (DG ENV) of the European Commission, the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) as well as the WHO/Europe representation to the EU. Aleke's research work has seen her participate in numerous international scientific collaborations, including that of co-convening Chapter12 on marine debris and dumping of the United Nations Second World Ocean Assessment, which was published in July 2021. She has also contributed to The Economist Plastics Management Index (in collaboration with the Nippon Foundation), which was published in October 2021 as well as The Economist Invisible Blue report on marine chemical pollution, which was published in collaboration with the Nippon Foundation in March 2022.