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G2S2 Lecture – Dr. Chen-Ju Chen : Global Governance, Ocean Governance, and International Law

By 07/25/2019No Comments

07/19/2019? International Law and Global Governance in Asia
Lecture Topic: Global Governance, Ocean Governance, and International Law
Class taken by Dr. Chen-Ju Chen
Dr. Chen-Ju Chen, an Associate Professor at the Department of Law of the National Chengchi University, gave a lecture focusing on the relationship between international law and global governance in the field of ocean governance. With the many threats confronting the world’s oceans such as plastic pollution, oil spills, proliferation of invasive species, among others, it is important to understand how the international legal order and the global governance architecture can help address these threats.
Global governance can be defined as a continuing process by which conflicting interests of different groups in the international society can be managed through informal institutions and regimes, and informal arrangements. Dr. Chen explains that global governance is mainly characterized by the increasing diversity of the law-making process, growing variety of law enforcement processes, and the emerging role of non-state and sub-state actors. Over time the concept of international law has expanded to include non-legally binding instruments. An example of this type of instrument is soft law, which is a non-binding law that is not readily enforceable via binding dispute settlement mechanisms. Moreover, non-state actors have been active participants in establishing soft law. For instance, international standards developed by private organizations and autonomous self-regulatory systems are not legally binding, but the universal adherence of relevant actors demonstrates that these soft laws are not devoid of normative value.
The relationship between global governance and international law is evident in the coordination of the various uses of the ocean and protection of the marine environment. Dr. Chen clarifies that the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) fails to underscore integrated policies; thus, management of the world’s oceans seems fragmented. As a result, states and other actors recognize the need for soft law instruments like codes of conduct, international plans of action, and technical guidelines.
Questions from the participants touch on the role of major powers such as the United States and the European Union in the law-making process and enforcement of hard and soft laws in relation to ocean governance.