Regional cooperation on ecosystem and environmental protection in the South China Sea: reflection and prospect

CHEN Jia1 YANG Cuibai1

(1.College of Law, Sichuan University, Chengdu, Sichuan, China 610207)

【Abstract】Though China refuses to admit the effect of the jurisdiction and admissibility award by the Arbitration Tribunal about seven claims, including marine environmental protection in the Philippines v. China South China Sea Arbitration, it is an undeniable fact that abundant fishery resources and important ecosystems in the South China Sea are suffering negative effects from economic activities of different marine uses and coastal residents’ living. Though arrangements on management, recovery and conservation of ecosystems in the South China Sea are made through international legislation and regional mechanisms, in a long run, subject to the generality of treaties, broadness in adjusting objects and weakness in implementation, countries around the South China Sea are unwilling or unable to truly and fully respond to environment risks in the South China Sea. In contrast to traditional marine environmental protection, the construction of a marine protected area network based on ecosystems faces a series of challenges. However, a practical cooperation mechanism on a targeted and process-oriented basis may help balance ecosystem protection and proper utilization, ease national conflict and maintain regional peace and stability.

【Keywords】 South China Sea; environmental protection; regional cooperation; ecology;

【DOI】

【Funds】 2014 Key Project under the “2011 Program” of the Collaborative Innovation Center of South Sea China Studies

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(Translated by ZHANG guoqing)

    Footnote

    [1]. ① The sea area has not only abundant fishery resources but also important ecosystems, such as stretches of mangrove, coral reefs, seagrass beds and wetlands; in addition, turtles, whales, and other endangered animals listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature also inhabit there. [^Back]

    [2]. ① Article 123 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982. [^Back]

    [3]. ② Articles 8 and 9 of the Convention on Biological Diversity 1992. [^Back]

    [4]. ③ Article 4 of the World Heritage Convention 1972. [^Back]

    [5]. ① Among others, Appendix I covers all the species having actual or probable risks of extinction due to trade. Appendix II includes all the species which are not endangered but have probable risks of extinction if trade of them is not strictly controlled. Appendix III contains species which are deemed by member states to be within their jurisdictions. They think these species should be managed to prevent or limit development and utilization of them, and need to be jointly controlled by other member states. [^Back]

    [6]. ② CITES, Conf. 13. 3, “Cooperation and Synergy with the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS),” www.cites.org/eng/res/13/13-03.shtml [^Back]

    [7]. ③ Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation and Management of Dugongs and their Habitats throughout their Range, 31 October 2007, www.cms.int/species/dugong/index.htm [^Back]

    [8]. ④ Memorandum of Understanding Concerning Conservation Measures for Marine Turtles and their Habitats of the Indian Ocean and South-East Asia, 1 September 2001,www.cms.int/species/iosea/IOSEAturtle mou.htm [^Back]

    [9]. ⑤ Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 Relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks, 4 December 1995. [^Back]

    [10]. ⑥ Agreement to Promote Compliance with International Conservation and Management Measures by Fishing Vessels on the High Seas, 24 November 1993. [^Back]

    [11]. ⑦ Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (Rome: FAO, 1995), www.fao.org/docrep/005/v9878e/v9878e00.htm [^Back]

    [12]. ① Indonesia: Komodo National Park, Ujung Kulon National Park, Lorentz National Park; the Philippines: Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River National Park; Vietnam: Ha Long Bay. [^Back]

    [13]. ① A Tripartite Agreement for Joint Marine Scientific Research in Certain Areas in the South China Sea between China National Offshore Oil Company, Philpine National Oil Company and Vietnam National Oil Company, http://nghiencuubiendong.vn/trung-tam-du-lieu-bien-dong/cat_view/137-legal-documents?orderby=dmdate-published [^Back]

    [14]. ① To cover typical habitats of the South China Sea ecosystems and maintain normal ecological operation of sea areas, countries around the Sea should establish procedures for listing marine protected areas and reviewing the positions and delisting of marine protected areas. [^Back]

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    [20]. [6] [8] UNEP-WCMC, National and Regional Networks of Marine Protected Areas:A Review of Progress, Cambridge: UN-EP-WCMC, 2008, p. 26, 28. [^Back]

    [21]. [7] J. Smith et al,. Criteria and Tools for designing ecologically sound marine protected areas networks in Canada's marine region, Halifax, N.S: WWF Canada 2009, p. 12. [^Back]

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This Article

ISSN:1003-9856

CN: 35-1054/C

Vol , No. 02, Pages 33-43

June 2016

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Article Outline

Abstract

  • 1 International legitimate rule on the ecosystem and environmental protection in the South China Sea
  • 2 Review of regional cooperation on ecosystem and environmental protection in the South China Sea
  • 3 Outlook of regional cooperation on the South China Sea ecosystem: centering on the construction of a marine protected area network
  • 4 Conclusion
  • Footnote