Navigating the depths: Bridging research and diplomacy for ocean ecosystem protection

Faculty of Law - Common Law Section
Faculty member
Research affiliations and partnerships

By Common Law

Communication, Faculty of Law

A photo of the professor Marel Katsivela inset against a background photo of an ocean with green islands
The protection of ocean ecosystems is an increasingly pressing concern for nations worldwide. No single country can take on this issue by itself.

Professor Marel Katsivela is leading a new effort that seeks to unite Canada and France in pursuit of sustainable ocean management.

Professor Katsivela is joining with Professor Sylvain Mercoli of the University of Angers, in France, to explore new diplomatic pathways towards a sustainable future for our oceans. Both Canada and France have taken significant strides in ocean protection, pioneering policies aimed at safeguarding the delicate balance of marine environments. The two professors will meet to compare their respective countries’ approaches and discover where new research can be undertaken.

Professor Katsivela’s main area of research is maritime law, including the maritime transport of goods and the protection of marine environments. Professor Mercoli, meanwhile, focuses his research on contract law and maritime law, with a special interest in the consequences of the exploitation of deep-sea mineral resources and the effects of climate change. Professor Mercoli plans to visit the University of Ottawa in the fall of 2024 to join several of Professor Katsivela’s international law classes, exposing students to the differences and similarities between the two countries’ approaches to maritime law and climate change. This visit will serve as a first step in a collaboration between the two researchers to develop knowledge that can be used by both the French and Canadian governments to evolve the legal frameworks governing ocean affairs in both countries. As a long-term goal, they hope to encourage dialogue and collaboration in the development of such frameworks, fostering the exchange of scientific expertise between nations to inform diplomatic strategies aimed at nurturing and safeguarding resilient ocean ecosystems.

Professor Katsivela has received funding from the University of Ottawa’s Visiting Researchers Program in the context of its thematic appeal for projects that support scientific diplomacy.  Specifically, the program leverages a partnership between the University of Ottawa and the Embassy of France in Canada to foster collaborations between researchers from Canada and France to advance projects dependent on diplomacy between the two nations.

Congratulations to Professor Katsivela!