Aurora Centre - Research themes

The objective of  NCLOS – a UiT Aurora Centre is to carry out a systematic assessment of the limits and possibilities of the law of the sea in achieving global goals of ocean resilience and sustainability, and on this basis identify possible future legal responses.

The research is organized in four main themes:

Ocean Space
Sovereignty
Ocean Commons
Future Trajectories
The law of the sea is facing fundamental challenges, raising questions on its relevance and adequacy. One of the challenges is the diverse and interconnected socio-economic pressures, including climate change, overfishing and loss of biodiversity. A second challenge is an epistemic, as the ecological models on which the law of the sea is premised do not adequately address how spaces are connected through ecological and oceanographic processes and human activities. A third fundamental challenge is justice and geopolitical dynamics, where justice have become an important element in the on-going negotiations for a new agreement on the conservation and management of biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction.  

These challenges to the law of the sea are reflected in three hypotheses that provides the basis for the research at the UiT Aurora Centre:

  • The legal architecture of ocean space is not suited to ensure ocean resilience and sustainability
  • The logic of sovereignty needs to be problematised
  • The governance of oceans commons needs to be reassessed

To test the hypotheses and achieve the objective, the Centre will adopt a rich and pluralistic theoretical and methodological approach. The doctrinal legal research will be supplemented by a law in context approach. Law in context, a interdisciplinary approach broadens the law from within from social, political and ecological contexts.