The Integrated Responsibility Approach: A Recipe for Sustainable Policy Co-existence Between the Precautionary and Scientific Approaches in the Prevailing Context of Area Based Management Tools (ABMTs) and Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)- The Case of the Arctic

Mr Godfred Sowah Khartey1

1South China Sea Institute, Xiamen University, Xiamen, China

The concepts of the precautionary and scientific approaches have always been viewed antithetical and been treated as rivals in the problem-solving process.This paper looks at these ABMTs and MPAs in the Arctic region and tries to appraise the effects of the clash of these two approaches on the region’s marine biodiversity. In developing a consistent environmental regime and with the Arctic region’s marine biodiversity under threat from human activities, there is the need to appraise the functionality and use of these two approaches. ABMTs, including MPAs are generally viewed as an intrinsic mechanism for conserving and restoring biodiversity. While there have been talks of which approach should prevail,this paper tries to offer an objective analysis of both approaches and their impact on ABNJ in the Arctic. With the legalese surrounding the conservation of biodiversity and carefully analyzing the modus operandi of stakeholders inter alia the Arctic Council, RFMOs, International Seabed Authority (ISA),  International Maritime Organization (IMO) and others,this paper seeks to establish the emergence of a hybrid approach designated the Integrated Responsibility Approach (IRA).


Key Words: Precautionary Approach, Scientific Approach, Arctic Region, Integrated Responsibility Approach, Area-based Management Tools, Marine Protected Areas


Godfred Sowah Khartey obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science with Chinese from the University of Ghana (June 2014) and LL.M. in International Relations (June 2018) from Xiamen University.

He has served as Research Assistant, Office of Parliament, Ghana; Aide to H.E Mrs. Rebecca Akufo-Addo and Administrative Assistant, Embassy of the Republic of Ghana in Beijing.

Certificate holder, Regional Marine Observation and Quality Control (OceanTeacher Global Academy).

He is currently enrolled at South China Sea Institute, Xiamen University, pursuing a doctoral program in Law of the Sea.

He is an English Editor for the China Oceans Law Review (COLR).

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