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  Editorial


  by Professor Evangelos Raftopoulos,
  Editor and Director of MEPIELAN Centre,
  Panteion University of Athens, Greece




Welcome to the first edition of MEPIELAN E-Bulletin in 2012.

We are gratified to see that the previous editions of 2010 and 2011 of the Bulletin have been so well received by many readers. According to the latest figures, there have been over 7.200 visits to the Bulletin’s website from 139 countries worldwide. My gratitude and thanks go to all those who have been instrumental in the continuing success of this Bulletin.

I am pleased to report that there is a flourishing progress of the Bulletin at all levels. Its vision to be a dynamic forum for inter-disciplinary knowledge and discussion and an advocate, through insightful articles of current importance, of promoting and developing international common interest and its multifarious governance, is zestfully met with the increasing engagement of distinguished academic experts and scholars as well as promising young researchers. This edition features several new articles shedding light on hotly debated issues of international law and policy, environment and development. While continuing the unending flow of thematic news, this edition also presents a new international case of interest and it serves as a showcase for new books which are knowledge-advancing and theoretically-informed.

A Guest Article written by Tullio Scovazzi, Professor of International Law, University of Milan-Bicocca, Italy, offers an authoritative and timely overview of  the nature and extent of Maritime Zones in the Mediterranean, illustrating the contextual peculiarities reflected in the patchwork of the present legal regimes of sui generis zones (fisheries zones, ecological zones) and of the established, or officially declared, exclusive economic zones. As he underlines, this situation is directly related to the more general present picture of the Mediterranean Sea: a semi-enclosed “sea in transition towards a generalized exclusive economic zone regime” where, however, “some high seas areas still exist”.

Three Insight Articles also feature this edition:
Nilufer Oral, Lecturer at Istanbul Bilgi University Law School, skillfully presents a critical analysis of the 2002 Black Sea Biodiversity and Landscape Conservation Protocol, developed in the framework of the 1992 Bucharest Convention on the Protection of the Black Sea against Pollution. Illustrating the particular geomorphology of the Black Sea and the anthropogenic factors of the decline of its biodiversity, she sheds light on the process of development this Protocol, its important characteristics, and  its contextual interconnections at global and regional levels (UN Convention on Biological Diversity, relevant Mediterranean Protocols to the Barcelona Convention, European norms and strategies), while she underlines, pending its entry into force, the importance of a practical, declarative approach to its implementation through the adoption of a Strategic Action Plan.
Alexandros Kailis, a Ph. D. Candidate and a Researcher at the MEPIELAN Centre, offers an insightful presentation of the newly developed EU Maritime Strategy for the Atlantic Ocean that constitutes an implementation step towards the EU policy approach to integrated and context-relevant maritime governance. Elaborating on the main thematic areas of this Strategy, notably the challenges and opportunities posed by the Atlantic Ocean area, the necessary EU tools (financial, legal and political) for meeting them as well as on the importance of effectively engaging, apart from the EU institutions, a wide range of Atlantic stakeholders, he rightly underscores the potential impact of this Strategy on the establishment of an integrated governance framework for the Atlantic.
Stavrianna Kaisari, Researcher, eloquently provides a very critical and thought-provoking article on the Green Economy, one of the central themes of “Rio+20”, questioning its rationale for a new development paradigm and challenging the belief that it will generate a win-win solution for economy and the environment. She builds her argument on the inadequacies and inequities of the Green Economy model and its underlying “northern way of thinking”, based on the neo-liberal ideology, which produces overwhelming generalizations ignoring the importance of contextuality in evaluations and governance and perpetuating the “reality” of unequal power relationship between North and South.  
Finally, a Critical Forum Article by Erifyli Paspati, a Ph.D Candidate at the Panteion University of Athens, usefully focus on the latest developments in Climate Change Negotiations, pointing to the complexity of the negotiating frames which led to the Durban negotiation process, assessesing the more constructive and the greyer areas of the outcomes of the Durban Platform, and arguing that the Durban Package has produced a credible outcome that may have a  positive impact on the continuing climate change negotiations.

MEPIELAN E-Bulletin is a dynamic electronic newsletter of MEPIELAN Centre, Panteion University of Athens, Greece.  It features guest articles, insights articles, critical forum textual contributions and reflections, specially selected documents and cases, book reviews as well as news on thematic topics of direct interest of MEPIELAN Centre, presented in a clear, insightful and attractive way whilst shedding light on topical issues of environmental law, governance and policy significance. Content bridges theory and practice perspectives of international law, international environmental law, sustainable development, and international negotiating process, and includes notifications of MEPIELAN cooperation updates and news. The Bulletin is an addition to our communication instruments which include an edited Series, the MEPIELAN Studies in International Environmental Law and Negotiation.

It is hoped that its content will contribute to a scholarly debate on important issues of current interest, providing an independent, open access forum for the promotion of innovative ideas and enlightened critical views of distinguished authors. The Bulletin further aims at offering a knowledge- and information-sharing platform for MEPIELAN audience, striving to serve a modern thinking and questing community, in the hope that it will stimulate constructive discussions on the issues presented.  The audience includes academics, researchers, university students, international lawyers, officials and personnel of international organizations and institutional arrangements, heads and personnel of national authorities and administration at all levels (national, regional and local), members of Non-Governmental Organizations, as well as the relevant private sector.

My deepest appreciation goes to the authors of the expert articles and other contributions to this edition, to the members of the editorial team, and to our worldwide audience sharing with us the ideas and message of this Bulletin. Indeed, time reveals the importance of launching and sustaining a scholarly E-Bulletin in a time of utmost crisis.

 

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