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Marine Protected Areas on the Uncertain Frontiers of Climate Change

February 2021

Citation: ELR 10116

Author: Vidya Vijayaraghavan

Scientific communities and policy experts argue that marine protected areas (MPAs) will increase the potential of marine ecosystems to tackle climate change impacts. Yet to date, there has been little legal scholarship about how to design, manage, and implement climate-resilient MPAs. This Article underscores the importance of considering climate change in the design, planning, and implementation of MPAs, and identifies mechanisms for incorporating climate change elements into MPAs. It highlights a newly developing international instrument, the draft biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction treaty, that provides opportunities for facilitating creation of MPAs; discusses the relevant articles of the latest draft; and emphasizes the potential to more fully incorporate climate change considerations. It also draws attention to the need to improve national-level frameworks governing MPAs to address climate change.

Vidya Vijayaraghavan is an environmental lawyer from India and received an LL.M. from New York University School of Law in 2020 as a Vanderbilt Scholar.

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