September 2017

Issue Brief
Overcoming Division to Comprehensively Manage California's Coast

California has  long been a leade r in coastal protection and management. Just over forty years ago, California enacted the Coastal Act to enhance public access to the shoreline, protect coastal and natural resources, and balance coastal development in the public interest. Today, growing challenges such as surging seas and a rising population are testing the established framework.

Last November, CLEE convened a conference, California's Coastal Act: The Next 40 Years, to discuss the lessons learned from California's history of coastal governance and how to address the pressing challenges we face today. We recently released an issue brief drawing from the day's conversation, summarizing key needs and addressing potential next steps.

One of the primary takeaways from the convening was the need for a viable forum for ongoing conversation. Many coastal issues trigger oppositional viewpoints, making consensus elusive, and a non-binding forum for meaningful discussion around core issues could facilitate pragmatic, transparent decisions about tradeoffs. Other key points focus on the challenges of effective climate adaptation, increasing financial and technical assistance for local and state governments, improving collaboration and coordination between governmental and nongovernmental entities, and ensuring all members of the public can access the coast.

The issue brief is available for download here

More information about our November 17, 2016 conference is available here along with a full recording of the proceedings provided by the California Coastal Commission for continued public engagement. 


This conference & publication have been in partnership with:

International Conference
Oceans + Climate Change Governance
LOSI Co-Director, Jordan Diamond delivers opening remarks

On August 14-15, the Law of the Sea Institute 
(led by co-directors Jordan Diamond and Holly Doremus) and partners brought a team of international ocean governance experts to the World Maritime Institute in Malmö, Sweden to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of our global approach to oceans and climate change governance. Focusing on topics from shipping and climate change mitigation to sea-level rise and human displacement, the conference addressed ongoing efforts occurring at various scales in order to identify best practices and analyze linkages between regulatory and policy frameworks.

The conference, Oceans + Climate Change Governance: Integrating Regulatory Initiatives & Addressing Governance Gaps, was designed to coincide with several ongoing efforts related to the integration of oceans and climate change from legal, policy, scientific, and technical perspectives. It was held on the heels of the UN Oceans Conference, which took place in New York in June and featured discussion of the risks climate change poses to ocean resources and the need for coordinated action. Simultaneously, the IPCC is preparing a special report on oceans, climate change, and the cryosphere, and the international community is engaged in dialogue surround how to effectively implement Sustainable Development Goal 14 related to sustainable use of the oceans. These are but a few of the ongoing initiatives that highlight the need to coordinate and link efforts and frameworks to maximize efficacy and minimize gaps. We are contributing by synthesizing expert guidance on governance and regulatory initiatives, including how the regimes link together. 

A collaboration with the World Maritime University and the Korea Institute of Ocean Science & Technology, the papers resulting from this conference will be published in a special issue of Ecology Law Quarterly to be released in April. 

Conference participants gather for a group photograph at conference close

Participants take notes during the panel on fisheries, featuring LOSI Co-Director Holly Doremus

Gabrielle Goettsche-Wanli, Director of the UN Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, speaks alongside conference organizers Ron án Long and Jordan Diamond

Now More Than Ever, We Need Your Support!

It has been a busy year as we have faced a plethora of governance challenges, natural disasters, and resource crashes. If you feel our work is timely and important, please consider supporting us today. We are an independently funded group within Berkeley Law, which means your giving is critical to our existence. With your support we can continue our efforts to increase resiliency and minimize risk to communities and resources in California and beyond. 

We wouldn't be here today but for your generosity.  Our deepest thanks for your passion and commitment to a healthy future for the planet. 


The Center for Law, Energy & the Environment (CLEE) channels the creativity and expertise of the Berkeley community into pragmatic policy solutions to critical environmental and energy issues.  


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