|The Oceanic Circle - Governing the Seas as a Global Resource (UNU, 1998, 257 pages)|
This book's title is taken from Mohandas Gandhi's comparison of the social order to the ever-widening circles that result when a stone is dropped in the ocean. This human order encompasses the individual, the village, the nation, the region, and the global community.
Just such an order is now emerging in the context of ocean governance, generated by the United Nations' 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea and the subsequent conventions, agreements, and programmes following the 1992 Rio Earth Summit.
This emerging order has social, economic, cultural, environmental, and ethical aspects. It is non-hierarchical, participatory, multidisciplinary, and includes the private sector as well as governments. Such an order is needed to solve the most urgent problems of over-fishing and stock depletion; pollution from oceanic, atmospheric and land-based sources; climate and sea-level changes; and biodiversity conservation.
Ocean governance will require profound changes in the ways we deal with each other and with nature. Like life itself, this new order started in the ocean, which has been declared the common heritage of humanity, and is expanding to embrace the whole biosphere in "the majesty of the oceanic circle," leading to a more peaceful and equitable world order.
The Club of Rome, an institution concerned with the world problématique which regards itself as a catalyst of change and a centre of innovation, sets forth initiatives for solutions in the studies and debates it conducts, in a context of complete intellectual independence.
The ensuing report to the Club of Rome on the oceans provides opportunities for in-depth debate and discussion. Our colleague in the Club of Rome, Elisabeth Mann Borgese, has brought to this text the best of her life-long studies and immense world-wide experience in activities at the very highest level on and about the oceans, which she has compiled in this report with all the devotion and enthusiasm of which she is capable. We realize that some of the ideas contained herein for submission to public and professional opinion are likely to be controversial.
The pointed comments made by Ruud Lubbers, distinguished member of the Club of Rome Executive Committee, in his substantive introduction stress the importance and complexity of the issues discussed by Elisabeth Mann Borgese. In keeping with her previous work experience, views and vision, at the end of this report, the author puts forward a number of specific operational proposals for solving the problems before us. It is, however, the view of the Club of Rome Executive Committee members that no single solution embodies ultimate or absolute answers, but rather that a suite of alternative solutions must be envisaged.
It is in this spirit, then, that the Club of Rome Executive Committee accepts this eloquent text as a new report to the Club of Rome. Rather, however, than taking a stand on the operational proposals made, which may number among the many possible, it issues an invitation for a world-wide discussion on the subject, to begin at once. There is a definitive need to heighten a global public awareness along these lines and spur our collective imagination, which is at least as important today as the available knowledge base.
Ricardo Diez-Hochleitner (President), July 8, 1998
For the Club of Rome Executive Committee
Belisario Betancur (Vice-president); Bertrand Schneider (Secretary General); Ruth Barnela Engo-Tjega; Umberto Colombo; Orhan Güvenen; Yotaro Kobayashi; Eberhard von Koerber; Ruud Lubbers; Manfred Max-Neef; Samuel Nana-Sinkam; and Felix Unger.