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Senior Research Fellow Youna Lyons was invited as a Keynote Speaker to the International Conference on Plastics in the Marine Environment (ICPME) 2018, hosted by the National University of Singapore on 5-7 December 2018. The programme of the conference provided a comprehensive discussions of issues related to the introduction of plastic in the marine environment from the perspectives of plastic chemists and biochemists, marine ecologists, oceanographers, human health, pollution monitoring and research on marine ecological and socio-economic impacts. It also included a discussion of the international legal framework and possible paths to tackle the issue including the development of a circular economy and other solutions for the future.

Youna Lyons presented the status and prospects of the international legal framework to manage marine plastics in Southeast Asia. The presentation identified the possible angles of an ocean law and policy approach to the issue of marine plastic pollution and provided an overview of the international legal framework. It emphasised relevant provisions from the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea which can be used to frame scientific research on marine plastic in order to inform the content of States’ obligation to protect and preserve the marine environment in this context. Ongoing working groups in different international and regional bodies and their respective importance were also highlighted. The presentation slides can be downloaded here.

CIL Research Assistant JR Robert Real presented his paper entitled “Public Welfare and Human Dignity in the Philippines” at the ALSA 2018 Conference: Law in the Asian Century. Held from 29 November to 1 December 2018 in Gold Coast, Australia, the conference was organised by the Asian Law and Society Association, the Australian Network for Japanese Law (ANJeL), the Asia Pacific Legal Institute of Australia (APLIA), and Bond University. His paper discusses how the Philippine Supreme Court has been using the concept of human dignity to both justify and limit the exercise of the state’s regulatory power, as well as a tool to discover new rights that advance human dignity.

CIL sponsored a panel on ’Legal and Institutional Mechanisms to Manage the Marine Environment in the Seas of Southeast Asia: Status and Way Forward’ at the Sixth East Asian Seas Congress (EAS Congress) in Iloilo, Philippines on 27 November 2018. The theme of the EAS Congress this year was ‘25 Years of Partnerships for Healthy Oceans, People and Economies: Moving as One with the Global Ocean Agenda’. The event is co-organised every three years by the Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA) and includes a Ministerial Forum on the last day of the meeting.

This CIL-sponsored session aimed to investigate and discuss the extent to which regional institutions can and may foster a common understanding of applicable international law and facilitate implementation. An underlying question in this investigation was to assess the possibility of following an ASEAN way and bypassing the need for a regional, binding and overarching agreement for the protection of the marine environment.

The CIL panel session comprised presentations by CIL researchers—Amber Rose Maggio, Dita Liliansa and Youna Lyons—followed by comments by Raphael Lotilla, former Director of PEMSEA and Somboon Siriraksophon, SEAFEC Project Director. The three speakers focussed on the following topics:

The speakers brought together the overarching international legal framework, comparisons of regional cooperative mechanisms and specific examples of application of the international legal framework by regional bodies. Click here for the session's highlights.

This comparison of regional institutions and coordination mechanisms is part of an ongoing study of regional cooperation mechanisms for the protection of the marine environment in Southeast Asia. It will be updated as CIL's research progresses. Click on the links below for more information on the panel. 

Head of Ocean Law and Policy Robert Beckman and Research Associate Millicent McCreath participated in the NUS-Sweden Arctic Roundtable on 21 November 2018 at the National University of Singapore (NUS). The Roundtable was organised by the Embassy of Sweden and the NUS Energy Studies Institute. Speakers included the Swedish Ambassador for Arctic Affairs, the Director-General of the Swedish Polar Institute and the Swedish Ambassador to Singapore. Representatives from several NUS research institutes outlined their research activities on the Arctic.

Associate Professor Beckman gave a brief presentation on CIL’s research on the Arctic, including the recently revised CIL Arctic Guide prepared by Captain J Ashley Roach.

Practice Fellow Rachel Tan Xi'en won the 2018 CIArb Competition on 21 November 2018. The essay competition is organised by the Singapore branch of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. The essay topic concerns a scenario on a culture clash between common and civil law procedures and the different approaches to taking evidence in international arbitration in the two legal systems. It invites entrants to submit a draft procedural order and an explanatory note to that order. The judging panel comprised Ms Judith Gill QC and Mr Duarte G Henriques.

This is the third time that a CIL researcher has won the CIArb Competition. In 2013 and 2015, Harpreet Kaur Dhillon and James Losari won the competition respectively.

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