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Senior Research Fellow Vu Hai Dang participated in the workshop by China-Southeast Asia Research Center (CSARC) on Regional Cooperation on Marine Environmental Protection in the South China Sea in Bali, Indonesia. Dr Vu Hai Dang presented on sensitive and protected marine areas under international law and the value of MPA network in the South China Sea. In particular, he spoke on CIL’s research on area-based management tools in the South China Sea: map of sensitive marine and coastal areas in the South China under international law, ‘Moving from MPAs to Area-based Management Measures in the South China Sea’, ‘National MPA Laws in the South China Sea: A Comparison and Suggestions for MPA Law Reform in China’.

Research fellow Arron N Honniball presented a co-authored draft paper, ‘The Next Bastion in Combating IUU Fishing: The Role of Nationality Jurisdiction in CCAMLR & Beyond’, at the 12th Polar Law Symposium held at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (Hobart, Australia).

Senior Research Fellow Vu Hai Dang took part in the Third Meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-Ended Expert Group on Marine Litter and Microplastics in Bangkok, Thailand, on 18–22 November 2019. The meeting was organised by United Nations Environment Programme, and the agenda was the implementation of the Resolution 4/6 of the 4th United Nations Environment Assembly held in March 2019. At the meeting, Dr Vu Hai Dang introduced CIL’s research on marine plastics—in particular the report ‘A Review of Research on Marine Plastics in Southeast Asia: Who Does What’—to national delegates, NGOs and industry representatives.

The CIL Nuclear Law and Policy team organised a closed-door breakfast seminar by Ms Helen Cook on ‘Lessons Learnt from the Olkiluoto 3 (Finland) and VC Summer (USA) Nuclear Projects’, which was held on 15 November 2019 at CIL. Ms Cook offered insights into the many ways a project can fail and the lessons that can and should be applied to future nuclear projects, including new technology such as small modular reactor technology. Ms Cook discussed how factors such as a lack of adequate human resource capacity and regulatory competence, changes in law and lack of detailed engineering designs can contribute to serious cost overruns and project delays, and explained the importance of addressing these factors early on in the project. Ms Cook also explored how projects that result in disputes between parties to the project and/or the insolvency of a project party have ultimately led to the failure of the project.

Ms Helen Cook is an independent consultant with expertise advising on both the structuring and establishment of the legal and regulatory infrastructure for civilian nuclear power programmes, and the strategic development and negotiation of commercial arrangements for new power plants. This event followed a public seminar on ‘Nuclear Energy for Australia?’ by Ms Cook on 14 November 2019.  

Postdoctoral Fellow Neha Mishra presented a paper titled 'Unravelling the Trade—Cybersecurity Dilemma: Justifying Cybersecurity Measures in International Trade Law' at the conference on International Economic Law and Security Interests. The conference was organised by Amsterdam Centre for International Law at the University of Amsterdam, and the European Society of International Law.  

The paper is about the various measures adopted by governments to address cybersecurity-related concerns. Some of these measures restrict cross-border flows of digital services/data and are thus inconsistent with obligations in trade agreements such as General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). However, certain governments might argue that such measures are justified under the GATS security exception (art XIVbis), as they protect national security. This paper investigates whether GATS art XIVbis is relevant in justifying cybersecurity measures and its potential impact on cybersecurity governance. Ms Mishra argues that GATS art XIVbis has limited relevance and is potentially problematic, when used in justifying majority of cybersecurity measures. First, a large majority of cybersecurity measures do not fall within the limited set of exceptional circumstances listed in GATS art XIVbis. Further, in applying this exception to cybersecurity measures, WTO Panels will be unfairly forced to balance trade and security interests in an environment of political, technological and policy uncertainty. Given these practical limitations and the normative boundaries of GATS art XIVbis, countries must avoid casually relying upon security exceptions as a basis for adopting/implementing unilateral measures on cybersecurity, but rather engage in meaningful cyber-diplomacy and regulatory cooperation mechanisms to resolve their differences on cybersecurity governance.