The Ocean Commons Conference




Thank you for joining us for the upcoming conference Common Currents: Examining How We Govern the Ocean Commons.  We greatly appreciate you taking the time to prepare for and participate in the discussions.  Below you will find information about the conference objectives and logistical information about making your travel arrangements.  Please reach out to the conference organizers if you have any questions.  

Conference Objective 

We are convening experts in international ocean law, policy, economics, and science to discuss to what extent, and to what effect, we manage the oceans as a global commons. We strive to identify when and how we have managed ocean resources or areas as a commons, and to analyze and evaluate the efficacy of such efforts. Over the course of two days we will engage in a series of panel discussions about key areas and resources. The discussions will span jurisdictional boundaries and engage cross-disciplinary expertise.

By examining how we are managing the ocean commons and the status of such efforts, we hope to identify opportunities to improve the current governance regimes, draw lessons learned from one area that could be applied to another, and delineate fields where commons management is inapplicable. The goal is a holistic review of the extent to which we are managing the ocean as a commons and recommendations for next steps.

Cross-cutting themes:

  • Rise in ocean science and technology and what that means for UNCLOS and other governance instruments
  • Regime interactions and creating linkages across instruments and institutions

Conference Outcomes

There are two primary outcomes anticipated from the conference: 

  • Expert discussions. We hope the discussions will stimulate expanded thought on the subject and be beneficial for the experts involved. If useful, upon request the organizers will produce a synthesis document of key takeaways for participants to build on. 
  • Publications. Every speaker is invited to contribute a written piece following the conference. These contributions will be compiled into a high-quality proceedings volume to capture and share the ideas presented. Please let the conference organizers know if you are unable to provide a written contribution.  


Location: International House (500 Riverside Dr, New York, NY 10027)

Lodging: Hotel Beacon  (2130 Broadway, New York, NY 10023)


Speaker Travel Arrangements

Conference Program


Day One

Time Topic

Welcome & Introductions 

Jordan Diamond (LOSI), Moon Sang Kwon (KIOST), and Jeong-Ho Roh (CKLS)


Panel 1: The Seabed as a Common Resource

    • Chair: Tullio Treves, University of Milan

      • Gwenaelle Le Gurun, International Seabed Authority
      • Seokwoo Lee, Inha University
      • Clive Schofield, WMU-Sasakawa Global Ocean Institute, World Maritime University
      • Leonardo Bernard, ANCORS, University of Wollongong
10:50 Coffee

Panel 2: The Approaches of the Polar Regions

  • Chair: Seokwoo Lee, Inha University

    • Karen Scott, University of Canterbury
    • Brian Israel, Planetary Resources
    • Young Kil Park, University of Rhode Island, Naval War College & Korea Maritime Institute
    • Special Commentary by Dr. Hyunkyo Seo, Korea Polar Research Institute
12:30 Lunch in the Hall of History

Panel 3: Managing Fish as a Common Resource

  • Chair: Michael Gerrard, Sabin Center, Columbia University

    • Lorna Inniss, UN Environment
    • David VanderZwaag, Dalhousie University 
    • Katrina Wyman, New York University 
15:20 Coffee

Panel 4: Institutional Approaches to Managing a Commons

  • Chair: William Eichbaum, World Wildlife Fund

    • Gabriele Goettsche-Wanli, UN Division for Ocean Affairs and Law of the Sea
    • Seline Trevisanaut, Utrecht University
    • David Freestone, Sargasso Sea Commission
17:00 Close of Day One
19:00 Speakers Dinner at Cesca Restaurant


Day Two

Time Topic

Panel 5: Marine Scientific Research Supporting Commons Governance

  • Chair: Sherry Broder, Jon Van Dyke Institute, University of Hawai’i 

    • Nilufer Oral, Istanbul Bilgi University & International Law Commission
    • Neil Davies, UC Berkeley Gump South Pacific Research Station
    • Seung Shin, College of Business Administration, University of Rhode Island
10:30 Coffee

Panel 6: Managing Biodiversity as a Common Resource

  • Chair: Kristina Gjerde, IUCN & Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

    • Cymie Payne, Rutgers University 
    • Elizabeth Mendenhall, Department of Marine Affairs, University of Rhode Island
    • Harriet Harden-Davies, Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources & Security, University of Wollongong
 12:30 Lunch in the Hall of History

Key Takeaways about the Sessions

Rapporteurs summarize key takeaways from each of the panel discussions


Discussion: The Future of the Oceans – Divided or Commons?

Group discussion about if, when, and how we govern the ocean as a commons

16:00 Wrap-up & Adjournment


Organizers & Sponsors: