On 5 October 2017 at the Our Ocean conference hosted by the European Union in Malta, the Government of Niue announced the creation of a marine protected area (MPA) encompassing 40% of the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). At the same conference, the Government of Chile announced the creation of three new MPAs, bringing the total proportion of Chilean EEZ under protection to almost 46%. These were among many commitments made at the conference by States, international organisations, multinational companies and others in pursuit of marine environmental protection and sustainability.
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On 23 September 2017, a Special Chamber of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) delivered its judgment in the Dispute concerning delimitation of the maritime boundary between Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire in the Atlantic Ocean (Ghana/Côte d’Ivoire). The Special Chamber, which was formed at the request of the Parties, was composed of Vice-President Bouguetaia, Judges Wolfrum and Paik and Judges ad hoc Mensah and Abraham. Judge Paik and Judge ad hoc Mensah issued separate opinions.
On 19 September 2017, Advocate General Wathelet issued an Opinion that the investor-State dispute settlement (“ISDS”) mechanisms in bilateral investment agreements between EU Member States (so-called “intra-EU BITs”) are compatible with the EU legal system. The Opinion is part of a case (C-284/16) referred to the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) for preliminary ruling by Germany’s Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof) in 2016. It is the first case in which the ECJ will express its view on the compatibility of ISDS provisions in intra-EU BITs with the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (“TFEU”). There are currently 196 intra-EU BITs in force.
On 1 September 2017, Australia and Timor-Leste reached an agreement on the central elements of a maritime boundary delimitation between them in the Timor Sea. The agreement was facilitated by the Conciliation Commission constituted pursuant to Annex V of UNCLOS to oversee conciliation between the two States.
On 23 August 2017, the United Kingdom Department for Exiting the European Union (DexEU) published its “Enforcement and dispute resolution – a future partnership paper”. The policy paper puts forward a number of proposals for the future resolution and enforcement of disputes between the United Kingdom and the European Union that will replace the direct jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) after Brexit.
On 29 June 2017, the tribunal rendered its “Final Award” in an arbitration concerning a territorial and maritime dispute between Croatia and Slovenia. Croatia had withdrawn from the arbitration process in 2015 and has stated that it does not recognise the award as binding.
The proceedings in the English courts arise out of an ICSID award, in which the tribunal ordered that Romania pay the claimants compensation for Romania’s violations of the Sweden-Romania BIT. On 17 October 2014, the award was registered in the English High Court pursuant to the Arbitration (International Investment Disputes) Act 1966.
On 31 May 2017, an ICSID tribunal accepted jurisdiction over a claim brought by a Chinese company, Beijing Urban Construction Group Co. Ltd. (BUCG), against the Republic of Yemen under the Yemen-China BIT (the BIT).
On 1 June 2017, President Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change. Pursuant to the Agreement, the withdrawal will take effect on or around 5 November 2020.
The International Court of Justice (the ICJ or Court) has issued a unanimous Order that Pakistan take all measures at its disposal to ensure that an Indian national, Kulbhushan Jadhav, is not executed pending a final decision in the proceedings.