Professor Biliana Cicin-Sain
Biliana Cicin-Sain, director of the Gerard J. Mangone Center for Marine Policy at the University of Delaware College of Marine Studies, has been awarded a $211,000 grant from the Nippon Foundation to lead an international team of experts in developing best practices in ocean policy.
Founded in 1962 in Tokyo, the Nippon Foundation is a non-profit organization that supports projects relating to maritime development, overseas cooperation, social welfare, and volunteerism in Japan and around the world. It recently organized a new initiative — the International Ocean Governance Network — to enhance education and build capacity in ocean management at the international level.
Under Cicin-Sain’s guidance, the foundation’s Research Task Force on National Ocean Policies will bring together academicians and government officials from 20 countries that are working to implement a holistic approach to marine resource management. These countries will share the lessons they’ve learned with each other, as well as with other coastal nations that are in the preliminary stages of national ocean policy development.
David VanderZwaag, a professor at Dalhousie University School of Law in Halifax, Nova Scotia, will serve as the task force’s vice-chair. Miriam Balgos, who earned her doctorate in marine policy at the UD College of Marine Studies, will help coordinate the project.
“While most coastal nations have had a variety of policies in place to manage different uses of the ocean, such as shipping, fishing, and oil and gas development, it’s only been recently that countries have undertaken concerted efforts to implement an integrated vision for governing the ocean areas under their jurisdiction,” Cicin-Sain says.
“These countries have had to tackle the difficult tasks of harmonizing existing ocean laws, fostering sustainable development of ocean areas, protecting biodiversity, and coordinating the actions of the many government agencies that typically are involved in ocean affairs,” she notes. “This is a very encouraging development internationally that responds to the serious conflicts of use that are occurring in the coastal zone, as well as the Law of the Sea’s emphasis on treating ocean space as a whole.”
According to Cicin-Sain, the task force’s chief goals will be to develop a framework for analyzing and comparing national ocean policies and for drawing lessons useful to other countries. The team also will develop suggested guidance for countries contemplating national ocean policy formulation and implementation, and organize an international conference to share information.
When the project concludes in July 2005, Cicin-Sain says the results will be shared with government officials, journalists, and other interested readers through a new book, Web-based newsletters and reports, and policy briefings.