Resistance to collective decision-making and corresponding response: A Comparison between the IWC and CCAMLR

Prof. Leilei Zou1 Mr Yu Long

1Shanghai Ocean University, 999 Hucheng Huan Road, Pudong New Area, Shanghai, China,  2Shanghai Jiaotong University, Shanghai, China

Although international institutions contribute to the conservation and management of marine living resource through collective decision-making, less attention has been devoted to the various forms of resistance to them, mainly include non-participation/ withdrawal and opt-out procedures. Thus, this article sets out to understand the impact of resistance to collective decision-making at the international level, focussing on two particular institutions (IWC and CCAMLR), as well as corresponding response respectively.


Issues of non-participation/ withdrawal are associated with rules relating to the interpretation of the duty to cooperate. For CCAMLR as other RFMOs, “participation or exit rule”  constrain individual discretion to operate outside the framework of the CCAMLR. By contrast, when without similar rule, the IWC faces challenges due to states’ withdrawal

, e.g., Japan’s withdrawal (2018).


Opt-out procedures are distinct from withdrawal. Its existence constitutes the main inducement to attract new memberships. More significant, excluding the exemption effect to an objector itself, it can have other consequences as well, e.g., delaying the effect of measures for other members. Thus, it constitutes a procedural step in adopting decisions.  In terms of their practice, this article argues that both the performances of CCAMLR  and IWC  are unsatisfactory.


Yu LONG is currently a PhD Candidate at KoGuan Law School of Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU), where his research seeks to discuss issues regarding the exercise of authority by international organisations in the context of the law of the sea. He completed his LLM in Public International Law, with a specialization in the law of the sea. His research straddles the fields of law of the sea, polar law, and deep seabed mining. He had co-written two book chapters regarding the protection of the Arctic marine environment and the governance of Arctic shipping respectively.

Leilei Zou, professor at Shanghai Ocean University, China.

Research interests are marine policies and laws, with polar living resources conservation as the research priority. Recent published paper is  “Implications of Pollock Resources Management at Bering Sea to Central Arctic Ocean Fisheries Management”. Her recent published book is “Arctic Fisheries, Arctic Fisheries Management and China’s Response”. Prof Zou worked as the fisheries policy analyst at OECD in 2012-2013. She also worked as the researcher at Law School at University of Virginia in 2014-2015. She was invited to be the visiting scholar at Fridtjof Nansen Institute in Norway in January 2017.

From the Indian Ocean to the High Arctic: what the Chagos Archipelago advisory opinion tells us about Greenland

Professor Rachael Johnstone

On 25 February 2019, the International Court of Justice issued its advisory opinion on Legal Consequences of the Separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965. The judges held by a majority of 13:1 that the process of decolonisation of Mauritius is incomplete, owing to the separation of the Chagos Archipelago shortly before independence, that the United Kingdom should end its administration of the Chagos Archipelago as rapidly as possible, and that all Member States of the United Nations should cooperate to complete the decolonisation of Mauritius.


The (partial) decolonisation of Mauritius in 1968 and the treatment of the Chagos islanders (Ilois) have important parallels with the purported decolonisation of Greenland in 1952-54. In both cases, the consultative body of the colonised people was neither fully independent nor representative of all the people concerned. No real choice was given to either body: rather the colonial power offered only the continuation of the status quo or self-determination on terms defined by the colonial power itself. Furthermore, the process of decolonisation was inherently linked to the forcible transfer of people in order to make way for a United States military facility.


Nevertheless, there are some relevant differences. First of all, Greenland was purportedly decolonised in 1953, some seven years before the UN General Assembly Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples (UNGA Res. 1514(XV) 1960). Second, the UN General Assembly accepted the Danish government’s representations as indicating the full decolonisation of Greenland (UNGA Res. 849 (1954), in contrast to their position regarding Mauritius that decolonisation was incomplete, owing to the separation of the Chagos Archipelago (UNGA Res(XX) 1965). Third, though likely to be of minor relevance, the Ilois were not native to the archipelago but the descendants of slaves brought to work on coconut plantations and others who had migrated later.


This presentation will examine these points in turn to shed light on the question as to whether the process of decolonisation of Greenland can be said to have been completed.


Rachael Lorna Johnstone is Professor of law at the University of Akureyri, Iceland. From 2016-2018, she was Professor of Law, Arctic Oil and Gas Studies, at Ilisimatusarfik (the University of Greenland) and Director of the Arctic Oil and Gas Research Centre.

Professor Johnstone specialises in Polar law: the governance of the Arctic and the Antarctic under international and domestic law. She is co-author, alongside Mary Durfee, of Arctic Governance in a Changing World (Rowman and Littlefield, 2019) and sole author of Offshore Oil and Gas Development in the Arctic under International Law: Risk and Responsibility (Brill 2015). She has published widely on the rights of indigenous people; international human rights law; international environmental law; due diligence; state responsibility; and Arctic strategies. Professor Johnstone is an active member of the International Law Association and two thematic networks of the University of the Arctic: on Arctic Law and on Sustainable Resources and Social Responsibility. She is the deputy member for Iceland on the Social and Human Working Group of the International Arctic Science Committee. She also services on the advisory board of the Polar Research and Policy Initiative, the social sciences and educational sciences expert panel for the national Icelandic Research Fund, and the board of the Equality Fund of Iceland under the Parliament of Iceland.

Professor Johnstone holds a doctorate in juridical science from the University of Toronto (2004), an M.A. in Polar Law from the University of Akureyri (2014), an LL.M. in Legal Theory from the European Academy of Legal Theory (2000) and an LL.B.(Hons) from the University of Glasgow (1999).

Dividing the Arctic: Sovereign Rights on Extended Continental Shelves in the High North

Mrs Ekaterina Antsygina1

1Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada

The paper is devoted to the delimitation of continental shelves beyond 200 nautical miles in the High North. Currently, the Arctic littoral states are in the process of delineation of their extended continental shelves; since the submissions of Russia, Norway, Denmark and the preliminary submission of Canada to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) reveal an overlap of claims in the Central Arctic Ocean, the need for the delimitation is imminent. Most likely, the claims are dictated by geopolitical ambitions rather than by intentions to establish control over the natural resources situated around the North Pole. Thus, the study will include some geopolitical review of the importance of the North Pole and the Arctic for the littoral states.

Probably, the Arctic states will not await the CLCS recommendations and begin negotiations after Canada delivers its submission. The delimitation agreement, most likely, would be concluded after the Arctic states finalize the delineation process. Since states are free to use any delimitation methods, it is hard to predict the future delimitation lines. The paper suggests the delimitation scenario for the Central Arctic Ocean following the three-step approach for the maritime delimitation adopted by the International Court of Justice.


Ekaterina Antsygina graduated in 2007 with honours from Mari State University in Russian civil law and received a Fulbright Scholarship in 2010 to pursue Master studies at The Ohio State University, specializing in international law. Ekaterina has three years of practice as an assistant professor in Colombia. She worked as a research assistant at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Austria and was a visiting scholar at the University of Oslo in Norway. In 2019, Ekaterina will be working as an intern at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.

Outer Space and Polar Regions: challenges for international law and governance

Dr Alla Pozdnakova1

1Law Faculty University Of Oslo, Oslo, Norway

This paper will discuss the contribution of the space sector to the sustainable development in the Polar Regions. Access to the outer space and space-based services is indispensable for the actors conducting activities in the Polar areas and for supervision of such activities. At the same time, space-based services are of fundamental importance for climate change observation making polar satellite data important for the world community outside Polar regions.

The paper addresses existing and future challenges for the international law and governance arising from the increasing activities in the Polar areas. It explores interactions and the gaps existing in the international legal regimes governing the use of the Outer space which may affect the protection and development of the Polar areas (with focus on Arctic). The paper examines the development of the contemporary law on the outer space activities and discusses the role of international bodies and inter-State forums (UN COPUOUS, IMO, Arctic Council) for the improvement of governance of the outer space –related issues of relevance for the sustainable Polar areas.


Alla Pozdnakova is Professor of Law at the University of Oslo, Law Faculty, Scandinavian Institute of Maritime Law. She is a doctor of law (Oslo, 2007) and holds LL.M European and International Law (Latvia, 2000). Currently, she works on the law of the sea, outer space law, Arctic and EU. Her other experience includes public international law, European law, administrative law and competition law. She is a Head of the Research Group on the International Law and Governance and a member of the Northern Areas Committee (Uni. Oslo) and member of a law committee on the Norwegian space law.

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