The UP Institute for Maritime Affairs and the Law of the Sea kicked off its activities for 2019 with a public lecture on “Fisheries and Marine Environment Protection Cooperation within ASEAN” by ocean affairs expert Dr. Lowell Bautista, last January 9, 2018 at the UP Law Center. Dr. Bautista is presently affiliated with the Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security (ANCORS), and is a Senior Lecturer and Head of Students at the University of Wollongong.
During the lecture, Dr. Bautista discussed the global and regional legal and institutional framework on fisheries and marine environmental protection, focusing in particular on different mechanisms existing within the ASEAN. Examining the current situation and strategic realities of the Southeast Asian region, Dr. Bautista pointed to the absence and desirability of a comprehensive, integrated, legally-binding, and overarching marine environmental regional framework. Lack of the same renders compliance merely voluntary and highly dependent on a State’s resource capacity. The region’s political and economic situation also impedes environmental cooperation. Dr. Bautista thus emphasized the need to translate regional programs and projects into national policies that are adequate and effective,in view of the fact that the current legal framework for transboundary fisheries governance is either ad hoc, sectoral, or species-based.
The public lecture was attended by members of different government institutions, non-government organizations, and participants from different law schools competing in the Southeast Asian Regional Rounds of the 23rd Stetson Annual Environmental Moot Court Competition.
A graduate of the UP College of Law prior to his Master of Laws and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from Dalhousie University (Canada), and the University of Wollongong, respectively, Dr. Bautista regularly advises the Philippine and Australian governments on issues relating to offshore oil and gas resources, the law of the sea, and maritime boundary delimitation, among others.