Dal Alert!

Receive alerts from Dalhousie by text message.

X

Research Projects


The Marine & Environmental Law Institute carries out scholarly research projects and is known as a leading global centre of excellence for knowledge, capacity-building and outreach in the fields of oceans and environment. The Institute's scholarly efforts are directed primarily at four major themes encompassing: regime-building and maintenance; special regions (e.g. Atlantic region, Arctic, Caribbean, Southeast Asia); ocean law, policy and management in Canada; and environmental law, policy and management in Canada.

Current Projects

Canadian Marine Law Networking Collaboration

April 2013 - June 2015

Aldo Chircop with Edgar Gold, Hugh Kindred, A. William Moreira, and JD student assistants Kyle Ereaux and Sian Laing.

Dr. Chircop received a SSHRC Connection grant to pull together a team of over 20 Canadian maritime legal practitioners and scholars to produce a second edition of E. Gold, A. Chircop & Hugh Kindred, Maritime Law (Toronto: Irwin Law, 2003). The second edition is being co-edited by the project leaders. Contributors include several MELAW faculty and associates (in addition to the co-editors, Mark Covan, David Henley, Sarah Kirby, Norman Letalik, Moira McConnell and Wylie Spicer) some of the most active Canadian law firms in the field. MELP students Kyle Ereaux and Sian Laing have been assisting Dr. Chircop. The project has also been supported by the Schulich Academic Excellence Fund and the Canadian Maritime Law Association.

Comparing Canadian and Russian Approaches/Challenges in Arctic Ocean Governance

March 2008 - March 2015


David VanderZwaag with Aldo Chircop, Moira McConnell, Phillip Saunders, Robert Huebert, David Scott, Susan Rolston, Cecilia Engler, and student researcher Jonathan Edge.



With a new Arctic development era looming on the horizon due to less ice, easier human access and huge northern resource potentials including some 25% of the world’s remaining hydrocarbons, this project has two main objectives: to further public and political understanding of Canadian and Russian approaches/challenges in Arctic ocean governance and to encourage strengthening in future bilateral and regional cooperation in the Arctic. Comparative articles on shipping and fisheries management on the Arctic were key outputs in 2014 with publication in volume 28 of the Ocean Yearbook.

Environmental Assessment Process

April 2011 - March 2015

Meinhard Dolle with student researcher Rebecca Critchley.

The project is a collaboration between Meinhard Doelle, Bob Gibson at the University of Waterloo and John Sinclair at the University of Manitoba. The research will address two competing trends in the evolution of environmental assessment (EA) law, policy and application, focusing on Canada, though the results should be illuminating for jurisdictions with similar characteristics.

The two trends are:

(i) the advancing ambition of EA theory, expectations and state-of-the-art practice in providing a powerful tool for the transition to sustainability, and (ii) increasing pressures to make the process more efficient.

Current initiatives include research on Nova Scotia EA reform, use of SEA for wind development in NS, and improving cumulative effects assessments in EA.

Local Integrated Coastal Zone Management Capacity Building in Southeast Cuba

CIDA University Partnerships for Cooperation in Development, Tier II

January 2010 - March 2015

Aldo Chircop with Lucia Fanning, Ronald Pelot and Pat Rodee.

The goal of this project is to support the implementation of local integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) in the coastal zone of Southeast Cuba. To strengthen efforts of the Universidad de Oriente (UO) and Universidad de Guantánamo (UG); to build the capacities of the municipalities of Guamá (Santiago de Cuba) and San Antonio de Sur (Guantánamo); to undertake local ICZM in order to achieve national development, environment and higher education policy objectives. The project emphasis is on particular development needs of local coastal/rural communities with a view of improving their quality of life. The project is now in its final stage and is in the process of producing a book containing essays on ICZM in Cuba in Spanish, edited by Dr. Silvia Patricia González Díaz of the University of Havana. It will be the first book on ICZM in Cuba to be published.

Local Integrated Coastal Zone Management in Southeast Cuba (COSTASURESTE, 2010-2015)

Local Integrated Coastal Zone Management in Southeast Cuba (COSTASURESTE, 2010-2015) was a project funded through the University Partnerships in Cooperation and Development Program (UPCD)’s Scaling Up Competition launched in 2008. The Project received funding for the 2010-2015 from the Government of Canada. COSTASURESTE extended the results of the base project (UPCD Tier II: Integrated Coastal Zone Management in Cuba, 1999-2004, Project No. 098/S47074-287). The purpose of COSTASURESTE was to support the implementation of local integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) and pursue the interrelated Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of development and poverty eradication, environment protection, good governance and protection of vulnerable people in the coastal zone of Southeast Cuba from climate change impacts.

The lead Canadian partner was Dalhousie University (DU, with Professor Aldo Chircop as overall Project Director) and the partners in Cuba were the Universidad de Oriente (UO, the lead partner in Cuba, with Dra. Ofela Perez Montero, also as lead Cuban Director) and Universidad de Guantánamo (UG, with Dra Estrella Casanas Diaz and Dra Milagros Montoya), including their Centros Universitarios Municipales (CUMs) in Guamá and San Antonio del Sur, and the Universidad de la Habana (UH, per Dra Patricia Diaz). The DU units involved were the Marine & Environmental Law Institute at the Schulich School of Law (per Professor Chircop), Marine Affairs Program at the Faculty of Science (per Professor Lucia Fanning) and the Department of Industrial Engineering at the Faculty of Engineering (per Professor Ron Pelot). The Project received substantial assistance from the Office for Research Services (per Ms. Pat Rodee and Mr. Christian Wirz).

The DU, UO and UH were partners in the base project. The project was undertaken in collaboration with the Santiago de Cuba and Guantánamo provincial offices of the Ministerio de Ciencias, Tecnologia y Medio Ambiente (CITMA) and the coastal municipalities of Guamá (Santiago de Cuba province) and San Antonio del Sur (SAS, Guantánamo province). The key beneficiaries of the Project were the UO and UG through their Centros Universitarios Municipales embedded in the two municipalities, and the Municipalities themselves as project pilot areas. Cuban universities are required by Ministry of Higher Education policy to establish university centres in all municipalities so that the benefits of tertiary education can be extended to all parts of the country. The choice of Guamá and SAS as pilot areas was motivated by the particular challenges they face. They are considered to be among the poorest municipalities in Southeast Cuba and their communities are vulnerable to climate change-related threats such as drought, coastal erosion, and salinization of soil and water resources.

Guided by the original Results Based Management (RBM) framework, COSTASURESTE undertook a wide range of capacity-building activities focusing on disseminating knowledge and skills to enable the resolution of local problems within the framework of national education, environment and development policies. The core activities included outreach and continuing education, as well as research to support the development of strategies for gender-based ICZM and integrated management strategies for soil management in Macambo (SAS) and the Sevilla Watershed (Guamá).

COSTASURESTE met all of the RBM expectations and also produced unanticipated additional beneficial results. The Project produced a widespread understanding of the importance of ICZM to anticipate and respond to the impacts of climate change in the development of local coastal areas at the municipal government level. The Project disseminated knowledge and skills for local government officials to address local problems. The Project also built a training capacity at the local level by strengthening the abilities of the UO and UG to deliver continuing education and outreach at the local level, by training personnel and equipping two seminar rooms in Chivirco (Guamá) and SAS.

At its peak the Project had 103 participants. The number of training beneficiaries were as follows: completion of Diploma in ICZM at two sites (36) and more took individual Diploma course (22); registrations in 16 thematic training courses on developmental, resource, environmental, cultural and public education issues (405); two marine biology workshops (30); risk assessment workshop (26). In addition, there was substantial participation in numerous other smaller workshops, including seven workshops on gender topics. A total of 22 theses and mini-theses were defended. Publications on ICZM included the first ever book on ICZM in Cuba and over 80 articles, conference papers and poster presentations. Also resulting from the Project were a database of ICZM materials, and strategies for gender-informed local ICZM, soil management in Macambo and environmental assessment for the Rio Sevilla watershed.

COSTASURESTE successfully scaled-up the results of the base project as planned and in three major ways:

·  Extension of education and outreach: the knowledge and expertise in the university teaching of ICZM were extended by base project and new participants to local levels to benefit municipal government officials directly concerned with local coastal management problems. The extension of university educational capabilities to the municipal level also assisted the implementation of Cuba’s national policies on the universalization of tertiary education, environment protection, environmental education and local development.

·  Extension of partnerships: the partnerships between DU, UO, UH and CITMA in the base project were extended to

a.  outreach activities at the local level in the Municipalities of Guamá and SAS, and

b.  a new partnership between the UG, the provincial CITMA office of Guantánamo, and base project partners was created.

·  Practical application of ICZM knowledge and skills: the ICZM knowledge and skills generated in the base project found application in Guamá and SAS. Municipal government officials benefited from project research and training to

a.  apply knowledge and skills to address local coastal environmental and developmental problems of their communities,

b.  improve management of natural resources,

c.  produce local environmental and economic impacts, and

d.  enhance public environmental education.

The project concluded with the recommendation that financial support for cooperation between Canadian and Cuban universities be continued to the extent possible, with particular attention to sustainable development issues and to enable tertiary education and research structures to be mobilized to address developmental problems at the local level.

Costasureste final report [PDF 2.5 MB]

Documentaries

These two documentaries were products of the project Local Integrated Coastal Zone Management in Southeast Cuba (COSTASURESTE, 2010-2015) funded by the Government of Canada. Led by Dalhousie University, the Universidad de Oriente and Universidad de Guantanamo, the project built capacity to implement local integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) and pursue the interrelated Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of development and poverty eradication, environment protection, good governance and protection of vulnerable people in the coastal zone of Southeast Cuba from climate change impacts. The key beneficiaries were the Municipalities of Guamá and San Antonio del Sur, considered to be among the poorest municipalities in Southeast Cuba and their communities are vulnerable to climate change-related threats such as drought, coastal erosion, and salinization of soil and water resources.

Documentary 1: “Guamá entre el mar y la montaña”

Documentary 2: “San Antonio del Sur la tierra que renace”

Annex 1: "Project Participants" [PDF 230 KB]

Annex 2: "Cumulative Results" [PDF 229 KB]

Annex 3: "Capacity Building Activities" [PDF 217 KB]

Annex 4: "Publications" [PDF 247 KB]

Annex 5: "Study on Gender & Equity Issues" [PDF 2.4 MB]

Annex 6: "Strategy for Integrated Management of Rio Sevilla (Guama)" [PDF 10.4 MB]

Annex 7: "Strategy for Integrated Management in Macambo (Guantanamo)" [PDF 7.1 MB]

Annex 10: "Disposal of Equipment" [PDF 19 KB]

Annex 11: "Formal Endorsement of Project Activities" [PDF 9.2 MB]

 

Marine Environmental Observation Prediction and Response (MEOPAR)

October 2012 – March 2017

David VanderZwaag, with Cecilia Engler, and student researchers Emily Adams, Aaron Lemkow, Sarah Sweet, Kristen Vandenberg, Sarah McDonald, Wesley Hartman, and Blair McIlwain.

This project involves collaboration between David VanderZwaag and a team of natural science researchers led by Professor Katja Fennel, from Dalhousie’s Department of Oceanography. How scientific advances in understanding marine ecosystem changes, such as ocean acidification, relate to existing national and international law and policy frameworks is a central research theme.

The extent to which climate change related impacts are being considered in Canada’s marine species at risk listing and recovery planning processes has been a priority topic for the summers of 2013 and 2014.

Offshore Renewable Energy Governance

July 2013 – June 2015

Meinhard Doelle, with Aldo Chircop, Phillip Saunders, David VanderZwaag and Moira McConnell.

The offshore renewable energy project will involve collaboration among Canadian and European academics interested in governance issues in the offshore renewable energy context. Jurisdictions in the EU and Canada have begun to experiment with governance approaches, largely based on experience in other sectors. Examples include Scotland’s and Canada’s efforts on tidal energy, and Portugal’s work on wave energy. The work will build on a growing literature on these efforts.

The project involves workshops in the first two years to bring together researchers from the EU and Canada on these issues. In year three, we will be working toward a symposium on offshore renewable energy in Halifax, and a publication of papers presented at the symposium in the Ocean Yearbook.

 Fundy Tidal Energy Governance: The Role of SEAs [powerpoint presentation 2.05 MB]
Functional Interactions and Regulatory Perogatives [powerpoint presentation 1.04 MB]
A Comparative Approach of Offshore Renewable Energy Legal Framework between France and the United Kingdom [powerpoint presentation 1.63 MB]
Renewable Energy Projects and Spatial Tenure in the Offshore [powerpoint presentation 696 KB]
The European Legal Framework for Offshore Renewable Energies [powerpoint presentation 1.54 MB]
Renewable Ocean Energy and the International Law and Policy Seascape:Global Currents, Regional Surges [powerpoint presentation 1.8 MB]

Tracking and Protecting Marine Species at Risk: An Interdisciplinary and International Partnership

March 2010 - February 2016

David VanderZwaag (Principal Investigator) with Phillip Saunders, Richard Apostle and Tsafrir Gazit, with research assistants Cecilia Engler, Shane Belbin, and Katie Sykes.

Through the partnership with the Ocean Tracking Network (OTN), a collaborative joint venture funded by the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, NSERC and SSHRC, this research project is focused on filling a major vacuum in Canadian and international research relating to the ethical, social, economic, scientific and legal dimensions involved in protecting threatened marine species.

This partnership proposal has four sub-objectives:

to build interdisciplinary networking among Canadian social science and natural science researchers interested in ensuring the future survivability and sustainability of marine species at risk off the Pacific, Arctic and Atlantic coasts;

to compare how different countries and regions around the globe are faring in tracking and protecting marine species at risk;

to explore options for strengthening global cooperation in conserving marine biodiversity;


to investigate how the extensive and innovative scientific information generated by OTN is understood and used by stakeholder groups and decision-makers. A special double issue of the Journal of International Wildlife Law and Policy (vol. 16 (2–3 and (4)) included nine papers from the project under the theme “Tracking and Protecting Marine Species at Risk: Scientific Advances, Sea of Governance Challenges”.

 

Selected Past Projects

Carbon Management Cananda

January 2011 - June 2014

Meinhard Doelle with student researchers Rebecca Critchley, Barbora Grochalova, Kira Misiewicz, Jamie Simpson, Steven Evans, Ryan Wake, Ben Ojoleck, and Kathryn Piche.

This project was a partnership between Carbon Management Canada Inc., the University of Calgary, Dalhousie University and the University of British Columbia. It aimed to contribute to the development of an international and domestic legal and regulatory framework for carbon management and especially new technologies that contribute to carbon management. It analyzed how new carbon management measures can be integrated with national and international emission management tools, and looked at the relationship between carbon management measures and international trade and investment law.

Projects under Carbon Management Canada include:

Climate adaptation
Forests & greenhouse gas emissions
Technology governance
Loss & damage

Environmental Assessment Renewal

October 2009 - October 2012

Meinhard Doelle

The research addressed two competing trends in the evolution of environmental assessment (EA) law, policy and application, focusing on Canada, though the results should illuminate for jurisdictions with similar characteristics. The two trends are: 1) the advancing ambition of EA theory, expectations and state-of-the-art practice in providing a powerful tool for the transition to sustainability, and 2) increasing pressures to make the process more efficient.

Legislating Integrated Coastal Zone Management

April 2009 - July 2014

Aldo Chircop with David Dzidzornu, JSD candidates Tony George Puthucherril and Hai Dang Vu; LLM student Diane Rowe; and student researchers Ryan O’Leary, Alex Gorlewski and Sonja Mills.

The objective of this SSHRCC-funded research project was to identify international trends and mainstream practices in national legislation concerning integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) and develop options for ICZM model legislative strategies. It was expected to contribute to a better understanding of the role, opportunities and constraints of this type of legislation in the multidisciplinary scholarly community engaged in this field. In identifying “good practice” and potential alternative strategies for ICZM legislation, this project will be of particular interest and utility to drafters of national and sub-national legislation in countries with active ICZM activities, international donor institutions and other intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations promoting ocean governance, legislative modernization and legal capacity-building.

Lower Churchill Hydroelectric Generation Project

January 2009 - August 2011

Professor Meinhard Doelle continued in his role as a member of the Joint Review Panel responsible for conducting an environmental assessment of the Lower Churchill Hydro-electric project in Labrador. Hearings took place in Labrador, the island of Newfoundland, and Quebec, starting on March 1 and concluding on April 15, 2011. Following the conclusion of the hearings in April, the panel had 3 months to file its report. Other members of the panel include Lesley Griffiths, Herb Clarke, Cathy Jong and James Ingloriorte.

Polar Oceans Governance in an Era of Environmental Change

December 2011 - December 2013

David VanderZwaag and Tim Stephens (University of Sydney).

This project, was the latest phase of the Australia Canada Oceans Research Network (ACORN), involved leading researchers from Australia and Canada in comparing ocean governance approaches and in challenges in the Arctic and Antarctic. The Canadian High Commission in Canberra supported an initial workshop in December 2011 at the Sydney Centre for International Law at the Faculty of Law, University of Sydney. The resultant book publication, Polar Ocean Governance in an Era of Environmental Change (co-edited by D. VanderZwaag and T. Stephens) included chapters by Meinhard Doelle and Ted McDorman (MELAW Associate) and was published by Edward Elgar (2014).

This project was a partnership between Carbon Management Canada Inc., the University of Calgary, Dalhousie University and the University of British Columbia. It aimed to contribute to the development of an international and domestic legal and regulatory framework for carbon management and especially new technologies that contribute to carbon management. It analyzed how new carbon management measures can be integrated with national and international emission management tools, and looked at the relationship between carbon management measures and international trade and investment law.

Projects under Carbon Management Canada include:
Climate adaptation
Forests & greenhouse gas emissions
Technology governance
Loss & damage

Regulatory Framework for Aquaculture

May 2013 - September 2014

Meinhard Doelle and William Lahey, with student researchers Kira Misiewicz and Ted Murphy.

The Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture set up an independent panel to develop new regulations for the aqua-culture industry through consultations with Nova Scotians. The work was led by Meinhard Doelle and William Lahey, supported by a committee representing stakeholders and community interests including the Mi’kmaq, the aquaculture industry, conservationists, environmentalists, fishermen and the municipalities.

The first phase of a multi-phased process of public and stakeholder consultation began in the summer of 2013.  The panel released its draft report in June, with the final report following in the fall of 2014.

Tracking and Envisioning the Future of Arctic Ocean Governance

March 2011 - March 2015

David VanderZwaag with student researchers Kristen Vandenberg and Emily Mason.

Funded by SSHRC, this project traced the fast-changing governance seascape within the Arctic Council and developed recommendations on future directions in Arctic Ocean governance with a special emphasis on management of marine areas beyond national jurisdiction.

A first project publication authored by David VanderZwaag “The Arctic Council at 15 Years: Edging Forward in a Sea of Challenges” may be found in the German Yearbook of International Law, vol. 54, 281-314 (2011).