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USP academics receive grant from top Chinese think tank

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Dr Pierre-Jean Bordahandy Senior lecturer and Dr Lili Song, lecturer at School of Law, Emalus Campus, Vanuatu.

Two academics from The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) School of Law recently won a research grant of AUD 7000 from a top Chinese think tank, Guangdong Institute for International Strategies, to fund a research project which examines the development of legal framework for deep-sea mining in South Pacific Island States.

Senior lecturer, Dr Pierre-Jean Bordahandy and lecturer Dr Lili Song, who are based at USP’s Emalus Campus in Vanuatu, will conduct the research which will evaluate selected national deep-sea mining legal frameworks being developed by Pacific Island States in light of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and COP 21 and COP 22 agendas.

The key questions they will look into include:

  • Whether there is any major discrepancy or imbalance between the international and national regimes that will lead to the shift of deep-sea miningoperations from high sea areas to areas within national jurisdiction, or vice versa?
  • What is the role of the principle of precaution in relation to deep-sea mining?
  • Is there any major gap in the way deep-sea miningrisks are framed in the various national regimes considered?

According to Dr Bordahandy, the vast ocean floor of the Deep South Pacific is generally said to boast great potential of valuable mineral resources, however, its exploitation poses technical, environmental, economic challenges both to coastal states and to the international community.

“We hope that our analysis can help relevant Pacific Island States to make informed decisions in the course of developing their national law on deep-sea mining and to better address the various challenges presented by deep-sea mining operations,” Dr Song said.

Dr Bordahandy and Dr Songadded that they are humbled and pleased that their joint research project attracted funding from a prestigious think tank in China.

The project which started in December last year will go on for a year until November 2017.

The duo from the School of Law is working to get further funding and has welcomed collaboration from interested scholars and organisations.

This news item was published on 5 Apr 2017 08:11:01 am. For more information or any High-Res Images, please contact us on email

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