governance of the oceans:
key resource management principles
Jon Nevill, email@example.com January 2005
This paper asks the question: "can a small set of basic ideas capture all or most of the principles commonly used in international and Australian policy statements? The question here is restricted to resource management, rather than equity or security issues.
As in many other areas, principles can be arranged and discussed in tiered structures, from the general to the specific. Discussing principles within a tiered framework assists in elaborating the essential logic which lies behind them - and helps in formulating clear statements of principle, where key concepts are not jumbled together in a confusing way.
This paper sets out a framework of two tiers of core principles dealing with ocean management - three first-tier and twenty second-tier principles. A third tier (and probably a fourth tier) exists but is not discussed, as the most useful concepts appear to exist at the level of the second tier. The framework attempts to capture the essential elements of almost all of the explicit principles and major concerns (relating to resource management) expressed in current (2005) ocean governance literature and international agreements. As such, it is more comprehensive than single sets of principles such as the Lisbon Principles, for example.
First, major international and Australian policy documents were gathered and their explicit principles examined. These are listed in the first supporting document: http://www.onlyoneplanet.com/marineOceanPrinciples.htm.
Second, the above list was
examined for themes. Twenty repeating themes were found. These themes were
summarised, and fell into three major groups. The objective behind the
summarisation was to find the simplest statements which captured each
theme in a comprehensive way, bearing in mind that a recurring theme would
usually be expressed in a slightly different form when it appeared in
different documents. The actual derivation of the summary "first tier" and "second
tier" principles (which are set out below) is explained in a second detailed
supporting document available at:
A. Ecological protection: management regimes should recognise, understand and protect the ecosystems of the ocean, in the interests of current generations, future generations and other life forms.
Good governance: management regimes
should include the participation of all stakeholders, and should be
transparent, reliable, accountable, enforceable, have integrity, and be
cost-effective, flexible and practical.
C. Resource management: The planetís resources should be used wisely, fairly, and without unnecessary waste, taking into account the needs, rights and responsibilities of current generations, the differing economic, cultural, political and technical resources of both developed and developing nations, as well as the need to pass on both renewable and non-renewable resources to future generations in a way which does not unduly prejudice their options. In doing so, management regimes should take account of: the rights and responsibilities of stakeholders, market behaviour and imperfections, the need for a precautionary approach in the face of complex and uncertain futures, the need to manage the cumulative impacts of incremental growth in resource use, and the ability of an adaptive approach to deliver continuous improvement in management outcomes.
These three first-tier principles contain twenty second-tier principles:
Ecological protection principles:
Good governance principles:
Resource management principles
C1. Full cost allocation:
All costs and benefits concerning the use of natural resources should
be identified and allocated and economic markets should reflect these
costs and benefits.
C2. Cumulative impacts:
the cumulative impacts of incremental developments should be recognised,
assessed and managed by imposing strategic limits well ahead of
ecosystems approaching a crisis situation.
the possibility exists of serious or irreversible harm, lack of
scientific certainty should not preclude cautious action by
decision-makers to prevent such harm. Management needs to anticipate
the possibility of ecological damage, rather than react to it as it
rights to resource use entail responsibilities to use resources
efficiently, without waste as far as possible. Those using both
renewable and non-renewable resources must also accept responsibilities
to predict, prevent or minimise environmental effects which may be the
unintended results of actions - including both long term and indirect effects.
(This principle includes the more widely
stated, but more restricted, user pays principle which is a third
C5. Adaptive management: management arrangements should include explicit cyclic phases designed to set, measure and achieve objectives in a complex and changing environment. Such arrangements allow management to learn from mistakes, and adapt to changing circumstances.
C6. Continuous improvement: management arrangements should explicitly seek
to increase both efficiency and effectiveness over time.
Acknowledgement: the origins of this work rests on the "model framework" chapter of Maher M, Nevill J, and Nichols P (2002) Improving the legislative basis for river management in Australia. Land and Water Australia; Canberra.
References: listed in marineOceanPrinciples.htm (see above).