5 Utrecht L. Rev. 1 (2009)

handle is hein.journals/utrecht5 and id is 1 raw text is: Protected areas in environmental law
One of the most frequently used methods to protect nature and the environment is the creation
of protected areas. Especially during the last few decades the establishment of marine protected
areas and protected land areas has increased under the influence of international law, European
law and the legislation and policy of national states.
Protected areas are generally seen as essential tools to protect species, habitats and
ecosystems and to maintain biodiversity. The number of protected areas has accordingly
increased significantly over the last two decades. The World Database on Protected Areas lists
more than 100,000 protected sites worldwide covering almost 13% of the Earth's land surface.
There are, however, important differences in the coverage of the various biomes and ecosystems.
In particular the establishment of protected areas in the marine environment lags noticeably
behind with less than 1% of the oceans designated as protected areas.
A large number of global and regional treaties and other instruments promote the establish-
ment of protected areas. Among these is the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to
which virtually all states are Contracting Parties. The CBD generally defines a protected area as
'a geographically defined area, which is designated or regulated and managed to achieve specific
conservation objectives'. It calls for the establishment of a system of such protected areas or
areas where special measures need to be taken to conserve biodiversity. The overall target that
has been agreed upon within the framework of the CBD is to establish a global network of
comprehensive, representative and effectively managed national and regionally protected area
systems by 2010 for terrestrial areas and by 2012 for marine areas. A wide range of other global
and regional treaties equally promote the establishment of (networks of) protected areas.
While the world population is growing steadily by the day and developmental pressures are
increasing by the year, there is indeed a serious need for measures to protect special areas.
Looking at the different levels on which these measures must be taken, one cannot expect that
only one, generally applicable instrument for the protection of areas could be designed. However,
a general pattern of legal protection may be observed. This pattern consists of at least three
instruments: the designation of the area to be protected, the regulation of human influence in this
area and the enforcement of the protecting regime. In some cases additional provisions are made
for conflict resolution and liability.
In this special issue of the Utrecht Law Review twenty authors from six different universi-
ties in the Netherlands, Belgium, the United Kingdom and Finland deal with the legal aspects of
protected areas under international, European and national law. This special issue derives from
an initiative of the Centre for Environmental Law and Policy (CELP) and the Netherlands
Institute for the Law of the Sea (NILOS) at Utrecht University.
In their article on marine protected areas Erik Molenaar and Alex Oude Elferink pay
attention to the OSPAR Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North
East Atlantic. The international community has committed itself to establishing a network of

http://Www. utrechtlawreview. orz/ Volume 5, Issue ] (June) 2009

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