What is the Oceans, Coasts and Coral Reefs Specialist Group (OSG)?
The WCEL Ocean Specialist Group’s mandate is to work toward a healthy ocean, recognizing the special needs of coastal areas, coral reefs, and the high seas. It is part of a pro bono publico commission of IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), an intergovernmental conservation organization. Its members are legal experts from over 50 countries.
OSG priorities are: recovery and conservation of marine biodiversity; ocean ecosystem protection; and sustainable coastal and marine management. These are closely linked to the problem of climate change, the establishment of protected areas, the particular needs of Arctic and Antarctic polar governance; and improving the effectiveness of environmental laws.
Examples of the type of work that the OSG is engaged in include:
- A current book project, Ocean Acidity Post-Paris: Gauging Law and Policy Responses (Edward Elgar, anticipated publication 2019);
- Advising the IUCN delegation to the Preparatory Committee for a new treaty on conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction;
- Expert submissions on behalf of IUCN in both of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea advisory opinion cases (on state responsibility and liability for sponsorship of deep seabed mining in the high seas, and on illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing).