Oceans Governance and Maritime Strategy by David Wilson, Dick Sherwood

By David Wilson, Dick Sherwood

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But the consequence of maximising coastal state authority over such research and the imposition of heavy and costly obligations on researching organisations has de-coupled policy formulation from systematic support of comprehensive scientific research programs. The provisions for review and amendment serve to lower transaction costs, but they do not facilitate iterative decision-making processes. Since implementation is not fully transparent, and, except in limited cases of transit and archipelagic regime passage, independent review is absent, there is no declared central mechanism to monitor potential erosion of basic compromises by state practice, which contravenes basic norms.

22 This conclusion is the result of two decades of personal participation in a variety of Track-Two mechanisms in the Pacific whose terms of reference embrace the totality of marine policy concerns. From this vantage point, the enormous contributions made by both Australia and Canada and the effective assistance of FAO/Fisheries to the South Pacific Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) under the EEZ Program paid for by extra-budgetary contributions of the Scandinavian countries, particularly Norway, and Canada, have been viewed from first-hand experience.

In certain cases, the Convention also defines policy procedures and recommends types of policies to be followed. In the case of the seabed beyond national jurisdiction, the Convention prescribes who may make decisions, on what basis, and how they may be made. But all of this came in a serial fashion over a long period of time. The outlines of a grand design were clear by 1974 but many of the details were not filled in until 1976–80. The conference was a very large beast, which was out of control on several occasions and largely an exercise in dynamic ad-hocery.

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