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Sea Level Rise and Impacts on Maritime Zones and Limits

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The Work of the ILA Committee on International Law and Sea Level Rise

As the oceans warm and ice melts, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) now predicts a global average sea level rise of up to one meter by 2100. AR5 also emphasizes that sea level rise will have “a strong regional pattern, with some places experiencing significant deviations of local and regional sea level change from the global mean change.” These predictions pose serious and possibly existential threats to the inhabitants of low-lying islands and coastal areas, and pose challenges for the international legal system to respond in an orderly and humane way to these novel situations. In 2012, the International Law Association (ILA) established a new Committee to look specifically at these issues. This article looks at the work undertaken by the Committee to date regarding the law of the sea aspects of its mandate and identifies some considerations for its future work.

Affiliations: 1: Fridtjof Nansen InstituteNorway dfreestone@law.gwu.edu ; 2: Fridtjof Nansen InstituteNorway

* Co-Rapporteur, ILA Committee on International Law and Sea Level Rise; Visiting Scholar and Adjunct Professor, George Washington University Law School, Washington DC; Associate Senior Fellow of the Fridtjof Nansen Institute, Norway, for the purposes of the research project from which this article resulted.
** Chair of the ILA Committee on International Law and Sea level Rise; Research Professor and Director of the Law of the Sea Programme, Fridtjof Nansen Institute, Norway; Principal Investigator in the research project from which this article resulted.
*** Member of the ILA Committee on International Law and Sea Level Rise; Associate Senior Fellow of the Fridtjof Nansen Institute, Norway, for the purposes of the research project from which this article resulted; Associate of the International Litigation and Arbitration Department of Foley Hoag (Paris office).
10.1163/22134484-12340077
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/content/journals/10.1163/22134484-12340077
2017-06-07
2018-10-22

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