World Commission on Environmental Law

Oceans, Coasts, and Coral Reefs

IUCN WCEL Oceans, Coasts, and Coral Reefs Specialist Group (OSG) is the principal source of legal expert advice to strengthen IUCN’s delivery of solutions to address governance of the world’s marine areas.
Sargasso Sea

Cymie Payne, Chair

Bio note

Cymie Payne Photo: WCEL

“I am delighted to take up the role of Chair of the IUCN-WCEL Oceans, Coasts and Coral Reefs Specialist Group, and I look forward to working with members and collaborators. Our mandate covers the most pressing issues of global governance with respect to the largest resource on Earth: the World Ocean. Together we will continue to work toward IUCN’s mission: to influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable.

“Thank you to Nilufer Oral and David VanderZwaag for their leadership as co-chairs of the Specialist Group, which has led to the creation and dissemination of knowledge, and the strengthening of the ocean law community. We are all grateful to you."


  • Serving as the primary source of legal expertise on the marine environment to IUCN and partners
  • Participating in negotiations on a legally binding instrument for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)
  • Producing a new publication to highlight the legal isssues of ocean acidification
  • Monitoring and contributing to diverse intergovernmental fora dealing with marine legal issues, including the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, the International Seabed Authority, the International Maritime Organization, and Regional Fisheries Management Organizations

Chairs Emeriti

Nilufer Oral Photo: WCEL

Nilufer Oral (Co-Chair 2012-2018)

Bio note





David VanderZwaag Photo: WCEL

David VanderZwaag (Co-Chair 2012-2018)

Bio note


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