Secure and sustainable oceans

Professor Robin Warner’s expertise is proving of fundamental importance to international peace and security, and critical to Australia’s resource and environmental security for current and future generations.

Professor Warner, from the Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security, is an international legal scholar whose principal expertise lies in the fields of law of the sea and environmental law, particularly in the maritime context.

Professor Warner’s research and teaching contributes directly to environmental sustainability at global, regional and national scales.

The innovative character of her research stems mainly from its focus on harmonising classical law of the sea principles with modern conservation norms in cutting-edge areas of regulation such as protection of the global marine commons and mitigating the adverse impacts of climate change on the oceans.

She has also adopted an inherently interdisciplinary approach that includes analysis and interpretation of the relevant principles of law of the sea and international environmental law: informed not only by her legal experience but by scientific and environmental assessments of threats to the marine environment.

“I am motivated in my work by the objective of secure and sustainable oceans characterised by healthy marine ecosystems and environmentally responsible use,” she said.

Warner strives to achieve change through ongoing contributions to global negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations General Assembly for a new agreement on conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction.

At the regional level she is Australia’s nominated representative on the Marine Environment Working Group of the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific.

She is also an investigator on a major research project on the economic viability and environmental sustainability of deep seabed mining in the Pacific funded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Before becoming a full time academic in 2007, Warner played a leading role in a variety of oceans governance issues as a naval legal officer and a senior government official for almost three decades.

You can hear about Professor Warner's research at the 2015 UOW Big Ideas Festival: