Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

First Page



Professor Joyner begins by explaining what biodiversity is and how it is currently being threatened. He then describes the existing international prescriptions that relate to the preservation of biodiversity, including the Convention on Biodiversity, the Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping and Other Matter, and the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships. Professor Joyner examines how these prescriptions protect or fail to protect biodiversity in the marine environment, both independently and in conjunction with related international environmental law. Finally, he assesses how international organizations, regional protection programs, and resource-specific protection measures are operating to prevent human disruptions of the global marine environment.

Professor Joyner concludes that there is a critical need for coordinated international planning and management in order to preserve the survival and vitality of marine ecosystems. In this regard, he maintains that economic development in the coastal zones of states must be more effectively regulated. Tighter pollution controls and greater economic costs must be placed on polluters. Furthermore, states must adopt a precautionary approach to ocean pollution policy. In the final analysis, however, Professor Joyner places the blame for inadequate protection of marine biodiversity not on frail international law, but on society's emphasis on short-term gain and the failure of states to uphold their international obligations.