Director of publications
Teresa Ribera

Pierre Barthélemy, Marion Gourdin, Carine Antunes

Anna Kiff


La protection de la nature outre-mer : un droit encore peu avancé, by Lucile Stahl

An article written within the framework of the partnership between IDDRI and the Fondation d'Entreprise Hermès on laws concerning the protection of overseas nature. France’s overseas departments and territories are a perfect illustration of the current biodiversity crisis, marked by the extinction of different species and the fragmentation of natural habitats, which are being reduced to shreds. Laws on the protection of nature have certain singularities there in relation to metropolitan law. The effectiveness of environmental law particularly depends on its capacity to take into account the original and fragile elements of overseas biodiversity, such as endemism or specific richness. However, it seems that nature conservation is coming up against legal limitations, resulting in minimal consideration of overseas biodiversity in terms of status of protected species. In this field, the potential of environmental law is therefore far from exhausted. [Find out more]

The EU Climate and Energy Package: Elements to assess its current performance and suggestions on the way forward, by Sophie Galharret and Emmanuel Guérin.

This analysis was released to support the discussions of the European Dialogue session in Venice in October 2010. The European Dialogue is an initiative coordinated by IDDRI, CEPS (Brussels) and FEEM (Milan). During three sessions in 2010, the Dialogue discussed critical issues on climate change and energy policies with key decision-makers of the Commission, national governments, European industries and NGOs. Discussions focused on the impact of the Copenhagen agreement on EU strategy, instruments to drive transformation at EU level, with particular attention given to the transport sector, along with financial and solidarity issues. The last session of the Dialogue was devoted to elements of a new EU strategy at the international level and the development of a new vision for EU domestic policies. This paper provides an assessment of the performance of existing energy and climate policies and suggests avenues to improve or complement the Climate and Energy Package. [Find out more]

Chinese renewable energy and technology policies: Legal compatibility with WTO rules & Economic interactions with other countries’ climate and industrial policies, by Emmanuel Guérin and Joseph Schiavo.

The United States Trade Representative accused China of violating WTO rules, and formally filed a complaint with the WTO on 22 December 2010, contesting a specific subsidy to wind power manufacturing. The United States has requested dispute settlement consultations with China, and if these consultations fail, a Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) will be formed to resolve the dispute. The purpose of this paper is not, however, to guess what the findings and conclusions of the DSB will be before it submits its final report, nor is it to say what these should be. This paper will analyse Chinese renewable energy and technology policies both in the light of the balance between pull policies (supporting the production of electricity through renewable energy sources) and push policies (supporting the production of corresponding technologies), and within and across countries, as it is of paramount importance to create the necessary conditions for renewable energy support to really contribute to the global effort to reduce GHG emissions. [Find out more]

Les zones marines protégées en haute mer dans le cadre de la Convention OSPAR : état des lieux et perspectives d’avenir, by Julien Rochette and Elisabeth Druel.

The international community recently confirmed the importance given to marine protected areas by adopting a Strategic Plan in Nagoya in 2010 whose objective 11 provides for the creation of a network of marine protected areas by 2020 covering at least 10% of coastal zones and oceans. Moreover, the Parties to the OSPAR Convention took the initiative to create six high seas marine protected areas. However, simply designating marine protected areas will not be enough; this must be followed by the adoption of binding management plans, which are adapted to the threats facing ecosystems and are widely enforceable. The aim of this article is precisely to highlight a number of difficulties and uncertainties – scientific, technical, legal and political – that must be removed over the next few months in order to achieve this. [Find out more]

april 2011N° 20

Oceans: The new frontier

Since 2007, the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI) and the French Development Agency (AFD) have been working together to produce A Planet for Life, an annual publication on sustainable development, published by Teri Press.

Every year, A Planet for Life deciphers the complex processes involved in sustainable development and reveals its full value. In addition to an overview of the international negotiations and policies conducted over the past year in the field of sustainable development, the publication also explores a specific subject. Previous editions have thus focused on issues concerning energy choices in the face of climate change (2007), biodiversity conservation (2008), sustainable development governance (2009) and cities (2010).

The 2011 edition concentrates on oceans. At the interface between numerous issues, the sea and its resources today are not only a source of food for populations, but also a vector of the globalised economy, a medium for technological innovation, and a coveted environment. As the distance from the coast or the depth of the ocean are no longer insurmountable obstacles, ocean frontiers are constantly being redefined by scientific discoveries, industrial issues, demands from States and, more recently, ecological demands.

Today, marine biodiversity is increasingly threatened by the range and intensity of human activities. First and foremost, the oceans are still being "made sick" by the land, with 80% of marine pollution caused by land-based activities. Moreover, exponential growth in international shipping, with 90% of the world’s traded goods now transported by sea, has led to a considerable increase in sources of pollution: in addition to oil spills, the illegal discharge of oil is an almost daily contribution to biodiversity degradation. At the same time, fishing activities are leaving their mark on ever more distant and ever deeper areas: it is estimated that 75% of global fish stocks are now fully or over-exploited. In addition to these traditional uses, which have become destructive, the oceans are becoming the focus of new exploration and exploitation issues. The discovery of deep-water oil reserves is attracting increasing attention from industries and is opening the way for the exploitation of marine areas, such as the Arctic, which are still largely preserved. Likewise, progressive knowledge of the physical and biological mechanisms regulating deep sea habitats is receiving growing interest. Indeed, hydrothermal vents and deep-water coral support organisms that have succeeded in adapting to the extreme conditions found in these habitats – absence of light, acidity, extreme temperatures and pressure, etc. – opening up a host of possibilities, especially for the pharmaceutical industry. The prospect of ocean fertilisation, which would contribute to carbon capture by plankton, thereby enabling the sequestration of the primary greenhouse gas, is also being given more serious attention, although its impact on the marine environment has not been accurately assessed.

The 2011 edition of A Planet for Life highlights this profound transformation of the marine environment. The outcome of contributions by a number of experts, "Oceans: The New Frontier" aims to take a detached look at today’s maritime world, which is torn between development objectives and preservation demands, themselves the reflection of an international society marked by many conflicting interests.

This new edition of A Planet for Life thus provides a valuable contribution to discussions on preparations for the Rio+20 conference, which will take place in 2012 in Brazil, during which issues concerning the preservation of the oceans will undoubtedly be raised.

For the release of this edition. Armand Colin, AFD and IDDRI are organising a conference-debate on Thursday 7 April, from 5pm to 7pm at Sciences Po.

>> Find out more about the conference
>> Find out more about the book