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La privatisation des mers et des océans : du mythe à la réalité

Abstract : Privatization is undoubtedly one of the oldest myths of the Law of the Sea, but its problematic appears completely revisited in the modern Law of the Sea where it corresponds to a new reality, at the crossroads between governance and privatization. Superseding the historical dialectic Mare Liberum versus Mare Clausum, it henceforth results in contemporary forms of private appropriation. It is primarily justified by an older but renewed myth, privatization as a tool for fisheries management (I), what presupposes both to privatize fisheries resources and maritime areas. But it also refers to a form of private environmental governance that is now at the heart of a new myth, privatization as an instrument for the protection of biodiversity (II), what leads not only to privatize areas under national jurisdiction and in the next future parts of the high seas, but also to entrust their management to environmental NGOs actually greatly dependent from industrial lobbies. The example of Seychelles is particularly emblematic because the transformation of the EEZ into a no-take marine protected area was initiated by NGOs in the framework of a debt swap, while the managing NGO authorizes, however, the exploitation of hydrocarbons and minerals. Avatar of the private governance that is a consequence and a product of the triumphant liberalism, the privatization of the oceans and seas is no more a myth but a reality. This legal evolution, however, is correlative to more global changes of the international system, and corresponds to a real shift in our society where politics appears to be more and more dependent on economy ; it is possibly too late to stop it, but if we are aware of what is going to happen maybe we could mitigate the effects to prevent the emergence of a less human world, at sea as well as ashore.
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Nathalie Ros. La privatisation des mers et des océans : du mythe à la réalité. Patrick Chaumette. Transforming the Ocean Law by Requirement of the Marine Environment Conservation - Le Droit de l’Océan transformé par l’exigence de conservation de l’environnement marin, Marcial Pons, 2019, 978-84-9123-635-1. ⟨halshs-02396208⟩

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