Document Type

Book Chapter


The Report of the Independent World Commission on the Oceans, The Ocean: Our Future, was delivered in the International Year of the Oceans in 1998. This report emphasised the dependence of our planet on the oceans but expressed great concern over their declining health. It addressed a range of economic, environmental and resource security concerns with the oceans, as well as those of a more conventional nature and the lack of effective cooperative mechanisms for law enforcement at sea. The report was highly critical of current arrangements for international oceans management and their ability to reverse current trends with the health of the global oceans. The Ocean: Our Future noted that the oceans are the setting of major problems. Territorial disputes that threaten peace and security, global climate change, illegal fishing, habitat destruction, species extinction, pollution, drug smuggling, congested shipping lanes, substandard ships, illegal migration, piracy and the disruption of coastal communities are among these problems. All of these problems are evident in the Indian Ocean region yet by way of a comparison, the cooperative arrangements for managing such problems are well behind those that have been established for the management of the Pacific Ocean and its resources. There is great scope for India and Australia to work together in improving the situation in the Indian Ocean.