July 25, 2019

Research in marine biodiversity leads to unique opportunities

Graduate student Kristine Gu recently contributed to a World Wildlife Fund Discussion Paper on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity.
Kristine Gu at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea
Kristine Gu at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea Kristine Gu

LLM student Kristine Gu assisted with the research and writing of a report, with Professor Neil Craik (University of Waterloo), that was commissioned by the World Wildlife Fund, to help states better understand the value strategic environmental assessments, as well as to provide insight on suggested practices to address biodiversity concerns in the marine environment. The report was used to inform delegates participating in a United Nations conference to negotiate a new international legally-binding instrument under the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction.

According to Gu, the United Nations is currently negotiating an agreement governing the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction.

"States are considering the use of strategic environmental assessment as a tool to help achieve the objectives of the upcoming agreement, and currently, the rationale and components of an assessment framework are being explored."

Gu's LLM research analyzes the role of strategic environmental assessment in the context of this new agreement.

"I am looking into methods for achieving the goals specific to marine biodiversity and how to overcome the realities of implementation challenges. My work and research is funded by Professor Anna-Maria Hubert (University of Calgary) and Professor Craik’s SSHRC project, The International Law of the Commons: Towards a Global Constitutional Framework."

Gu also received her diploma from the Rhodes Academy of Oceans Law and Policy in Rhodes, Greece (June 30th – July 19th, 2019), and is now attending the Summer Academy at the International Foundation for the Law of the Sea (IFLOS) in Hamburg, Germany, hosted on the premises of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (July 21st – August 16th, 2019).

"Both are unique opportunities to deepen my understanding of the Law of the Sea, as well as Maritime Law, under the guidance of esteemed lecturers, including leading experts and current and former judges of the Tribunal, and in the company of colleagues from dozens of countries and of varying professional backgrounds," says Gu. "I had the opportunity to apply my new skills at the Rhodes Academy through the completion of written and oral examinations, and I will participate in the moot court at IFLOS. Both of these academies have been a phenomenal learning experience and a chance to work and build relationships with those in this field."