An Evaluation of the Modular Approach to the Assessment and Management of Large Marine Ecosystems - Hanling Wang
Ocean Development and International Law 35:267-286(2004) ABSTRACT This contribution discusses the modular approach to the assessment and management of large marine ecosystems (LMEs). It addresses the contents and functions of the five modules; the key elements and processes of the Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA), Strategic Action Program (SAP) and National Action Plan (NAP) in the LME context; the principal common problems facing LMEs and their causes identified in TDAs and action plans formulated in SAPs, as the results of the practical application of the modular approach in LME projects. It also evaluates the significance of the modular approach for international ocean governance. It concludes that this integrated, ecosystem-based approach has rectified some deficiencies of the traditional sectoral approaches and has improved the understanding of LMEs and their management regimes. As a result the integrated, ecosystem-based approach is increasingly being endorsed in international governance of LMEs. It is the current worldwide practice for large marine ecosystem (LME) projects to adopt an integrated, ecosystem-based approach to the assessment and management of the marine environment and resources.1 The core of this approach is the application of a five-module assessment and management methodology to the processes of formulation and implementation of the Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA), Strategic Action Program (SAP), and National Action Plan (NAP). In view of the importance of LMEs to the global environment and socioeconomics, the approach to managing LMEs has significant effects not only on the LMEs themselves, but also on the densely populated human communities that rely on them. Research into this innovative approach to LMEs, which is being used increasingly by LME projects worldwide, has significant practical value. This article discusses and analyzes the latest methodological developments in the assessment and management of the marine environment and resources at the scales of large marine ecosystems (LMEs) and the application of these methodological developments in the LME projects. It examines the key elements and the processes of the modular approach, investigates its practical application, and evaluates its significance for international ocean governance.
04 Mar 2010