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Consensus decision‑making in CCAMLR: Achilles’ heel or fundamental to its success?


Goldsworthy, L, Consensus decision‑making in CCAMLR: Achilles' heel or fundamental to its success?, International Environmental Agreements pp. 1-27. ISSN 1567-9764 (2022) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2022 the authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.1007/s10784-021-09561-4


The Commission for the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources is the body responsible for the conservation and management of most species in the Southern Ocean. The Convention mandates that decisions be made by consensus agreement of its Members. This approach has been largely successful in delivering strong management decisions across both complex issues and widely ranging national interests. However, recent failures to progress the implementation of a network of marine protected areas or to agree any concrete response actions to climate impacts raise concerns about its effectiveness. This paper reviews the level of uptake of Member-driven proposals and then examines examples of proposals that were not resolved within the usual three years to analyse the processes utilised by Members to find resolution. It concludes that CCAMLR has been successful in reaching agreements when focusing on fisheries management but less so on issues within its broader conservation mandate, such as area protection for biodiversity purposes or non-fishery management focused scientific study, or for issues that are perceived to extend the competency of the Convention. It notes that CCAMLR lacks operational mechanisms to facilitate agreement in the absence of compromise text or when one or two Members cannot accept a proposal.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Southern Ocean, CCAMLR, consensus, veto, multilateral organisations, decision making
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Policy and administration
Research Field:Environment policy
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Management of Antarctic and Southern Ocean environments
Objective Field:Management of Antarctic and Southern Ocean environments not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Goldsworthy, L (Ms Lynda Goldsworthy)
ID Code:149878
Year Published:2022
Deposited By:Oceans and Cryosphere
Deposited On:2022-04-21
Last Modified:2022-05-18
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