Marine environment cooperation in the South China Sea: lessons from the Baltic Sea experience

LI Lingqun1

(1.Collaborative Innovation Center of South China Sea Studies, Nanjing University, Nanjing, Jiangsu 210093)

【Abstract】The South China Sea has seen some positive development recently. In the past two years, parties to the South China Sea dispute have taken great effort to manage differences while the negotiation over a Code of Conduct is heading in the right direction. These developments create favorable conditions for promoting functional cooperation between China and ASEAN in the South China Sea. Among the many alternatives of maritime cooperation, China and ASEAN should prioritize marine environment protection considering the pro-cooperation advantages and the preliminary status of regional maritime cooperation. After investigating the four-decade experience of marine environment protection in the Baltic Sea Area, the paper proposes three core elements as the foundation for building a regional marine environment protection mechanism. Establishing a legal framework for marine environment protection and the related marine environment protection mechanism would help reinvigorate existing sporadic efforts of maritime cooperation in the region, thus paving the way for a long-term, institutionalized and overarching regime of marine cooperation in the South China Sea.

【Keywords】 South China Sea; the Baltic Sea; marine environment protection; Code of Conduct in the South China Sea;

【DOI】

【Funds】 National Social Sciences Fund of China (15CGJ029)

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(Translated by HE wenshan)

    Footnote

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    [21]. (1) Hong, N. Asia-Pacific Security and Maritime Affairs (亚太安全与海洋研究), (1): 16–32 (2017); Du, L. & Cao, Q. International Studies (国际问题研究), (2): 83–95 (2018). [^Back]

    [22]. (2) For example, Zhang, X. Journal of Ocean University of China (Social Sciences) (中国海洋大学学报(社会科学版)), (4): 1–5 (2011); Yao, Y.Study & Exploration (学习与探索), (12): 68–73 (2015). [^Back]

    [23]. (3) Nowadays, the academic circle not only pays more attention to the relationship between the marine environment and the fishery ecological resources but also increasingly regards marine environmental protection and ecological resource conservation as a whole. To name only a few, Liu, D. Foreign Affairs Review (外交评论), (5): 113–140 (2017). Chen, J. & Yang, C. Southeast Asian Affairs (南洋问题研究), (2): 33–43 (2016). [^Back]

    [24]. (4) For example, Zhu, J. & Huang, F. Chinese Fisheries Economics (中国渔业经济), (5): 10–15 (2015). Zhang, M. The New Orient (新东方), (1): 32–36 (2011). [^Back]

    [25]. (5) Scholars started the discussions on the joint development of oil and gas resources in the South China Sea very early. Early systematic works include Mark J. Valencia, Jon M. Van Dyke & Noel A. Ludwig, Sharing the Resources of the South China Sea, Boston: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1997. The recent domestic studies are made by the following scholars: Luo, G. & Guo, W. Southeast Asian Affairs (南洋问题研究), (2): 45–55 (2012); Li, G. Southeast Asian Affairs (南洋问题研究), (1): 84–94 (2017); Deng, N. Journal of Ocean University of China (Social Sciences) (中国海洋大学学报(社会科学版)), (2): 41–48 (2018). [^Back]

    [26]. (6) For example, Zou, K.PKU International and Comparative Law Review (北大国际法与比较法评论), (2) (2015), http://www.pkulaw.cn/CLI.A.1154540; Zhang, X. Legal Forum (法学论坛), (5): 5–13 (2010); Hong, N. Asia-Pacific Security and Maritime Affairs (亚太安全与海洋研究), (1): 36–52 (2018). [^Back]

    [27]. (7) For example, Zhang, L. Southeast Asian Studies (东南亚研究), (6): 11–19 (2016); Shi, Y. Humanities & Social Sciences Journal of Hainan University (海南大学学报人文社会科学版), (2): 40–49 (2018). [^Back]

    [28]. (8) According to the experience of international practices, the general trend of maritime cooperation practice in semi-closed sea areas is that a comprehensive system of maritime cooperation will be gradually established, evolving from simple to complex, such as those in the Mediterranean region, the Baltic Sea, and the Caribbean Sea. [^Back]

    [29]. (9) About the regional sea projects of the United Nations Environment Programme, please refer to UNEP, Why Does Working with Regional Seas Matter, https://www.unenvironment.org/explore-topics/oceans-seas/what-we-do/working-regional-seas/why-does-working-regional-seas-matter [^Back]

    [30]. (10) About the East Asian Sea project of the United Nations Environment Programme, please refer to COBSEA-Coordinating Body on the Seas of East Asia, http://www.cobsea.org, last accessed on August 3, 2018. [^Back]

    [31]. (11) In the 1960s and 1970s, the environmental protection of the Baltic Sea started, while other areas such as oil and gas resources were less developed. Cooperation in both fisheries and marine environmental protection has been carried out simultaneously, but that in marine environmental protection has become more intense and that in fisheries has gradually been integrated into environmental cooperative mechanisms. [^Back]

    [32]. (12) It is generally believed that the real starting point of environmental awareness in Europe and the United States was marked by the Silent Spring written by Rachel Carson, an American science writer. The first publication of the book caused great repercussions in 1962 and the reflection of the West on the environment. In the 1960s and 1970s, the environmental movement sprang up with a wide range of participation of hierarchies. The United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm in 1972 was considered a milestone in the formation of a political consensus on environmental protection around the world. [^Back]

    [33]. (13) Such words as counteract, control and abate are often adopted in the 1974 Helsinki Convention. While in the 1992 Helsinki Convention, such terms as prevent, eliminate, and prohibit are used. [^Back]

    [34]. (14) Please refer to Annex I to the 1992 Helsinki Convention. [^Back]

    [35]. (15) Please refer to Annex VI to the 1992 Helsinki Convention. [^Back]

    [36]. (16) These two methods were elaborated in Annex II to the 1992 Helsinki Convention. [^Back]

    [37]. (17) Please refer to Annex VII to the 1992 Helsinki Convention. [^Back]

    [38]. (18) For example, no less than 132 hot spots were established in the Baltic Sea Joint Comprehensive Environmental Action Programme in 1992, of which there were 47 priority hot spots. There are special provisions in the 1992 Helsinki Convention for the environmental protection measures, criteria, objectives and so on for these areas. [^Back]

    [39]. (19) The 1992 Helsinki Convention also stipulates that the European Economic Community shall exercise its right to vote if its member states do not exercise theirs. [^Back]

    [40]. (20) The International Baltic Sea Fishery Commission was established under the Gdansk Convention executed by some of the surrounding counties of the Baltic Sea Area in 1973 and was mainly responsible for managing marine fishery of the Baltic Sea. In 2005, the IBSFC was dismissed as except for Russia, all the countries along the coast of the Baltic Sea were EU members adopting the uniform common fisheries policies of EU. Therefore, the EU has been responsible for coordinating the fishery management with Russia in the Baltic Sea from then on. [^Back]

    [41]. (21) For example, the observer states include Belarus and Ukraine. The observers of international intergovernmental organizations include the International Maritime Organization, the United Nations Environment Programme, the Climate Group, and the Council of the Baltic Sea States. The observers of international non-governmental organizations include the Baltic Ports Organization, the Baltic Farmers Forum on Environment, and the BirdLife International. For a detailed list, please access the website of the Helsinki Commission. [^Back]

    [42]. (22) For details of the official document of previous ministerial meetings, please refer to HELCOM, Ministerial Meetings, http://www.helcom.fi/helcom-at-work/ministerial-declarations/ [^Back]

This Article

ISSN:1003-9856

CN: 35-1054/C

Vol , No. 04, Pages 45-58

December 2018

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Article Outline

Abstract

  • 1 Realistic foundation and path choice of marine environment cooperation in the South China Sea
  • 2 Cooperation practices on environmental protection in the Baltic Sea
  • 3 Building cornerstones for the cooperation in marine environmental protection in the South China Sea
  • 4 Conclusion
  • Footnote