Marine Biodiversity, Ecosystem Services and Better Use of Science Information
Betsy B. Baker
Vermont Law School; University of Washington School of Law
November 15, 2013
Land of Sea Institute, UC Berkeley–Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology Conference, Seoul, Korea, May 21-24, 2012
Vermont Law School Research Paper No. 35-13
With the start of the twenty-first century, the international environmental policy world began to establish multiple assessment platforms, mechanisms and processes, all of which generate and consume science information. The Inter-governmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), launched in April 2012, is the latest in this series of initiatives. In many ways, IPBES picks up where the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) left off in 2005. The MA was designed to provide reliable scientific data for environmental policy makers through a “comprehensive global evaluation of the condition of the five major ecosystems: forests, freshwater systems, grassland, coastal areas and agroecosystems.” Yet another initiative, the World Ocean Assessment (WOA) will be “the first global integrated assessment of the state of the marine environment, including socio-economic aspects” and is to be completed by 2014.
Given the range and growing number of these science information assessments and platforms, this paper examines their legal character, suggesting ways in which the information they generate can be used for more than the purposes underlying each individual program. The paper first summarizes the cohesive network of international biodiversity agreements and how they have devoted considerable effort to better coordinating the national reporting and other information requirements that they generate, focusing on the marine environment. It then proposes how the international community can foster useful information sharing between the different science entities, treaty bodies, international organizations and other groups involved in these information platforms. The paper suggests that a sectoral focus on marine biodiversity has the potential to give these platforms more practical effect than when they are applied broadly to all biodiversity concerns.
This paper was presented at the tenth in a series of annual international conferences organized and sponsored or co-sponsored by the Law of the Sea Institute, School of Law, University of California, Berkeley, USA. The May 2012 conference was jointly sponsored and co-organized in collaboration with the Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology (KIOST, formerly KORDI), and hosted by KIOST on May 21-24, 2012 in Seoul, Korea. This was the third LOSI- KIOST collaboration in conferences and publications. Conference papers are available at http://www.law.berkeley.edu/15589.htm
Number of Pages in PDF File: 23
Keywords: Biodiversity, IPBES, World Ocean Assessment, Science, reporting requirements, Millennium Ecosystem Assessment
JEL Classification: K32, K33, N50
Date posted: November 16, 2013 ; Last revised: July 16, 2014