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Towards a Network of Marine Protected Areas in the South China Sea: Legal and Political Perspectives
The once pristine and rich marine environment of the South China Sea is degrading at an alarming rate due to the rapid socioeconomic development of the region. Despite this, and because mainly of complicated sovereignty and maritime boundary disputes, coastal States have not been able to develop effective regional cooperation to safeguard the shared marine environment. This dissertation, “Towards a Network of Marine Protected Areas in the South China Sea: Legal and Political Perspectives”, researches legal and political measures to support the development of a network of marine protected areas in the South China Sea. Such a network, if properly developed, would not only help to protect the marine environment and resources of the region but also contribute to lower the tension among its coastal States. These measures should be developed in accordance with international law, based on the specific geopolitical context of the South China Sea region and take into consideration experiences in developing regional networks of marine protected areas from other marine regions. Consequently, three optional categories of measures for the development of a network of marine protected areas in the South China Sea are suggested at the end. They include national-focused measures; measures to enhance the regional cooperation; and measures to build a regime for marine protected areas and network of marine protected areas in the South China Sea. These measures could be taken alternatively or on a step-by-step basis.