Environmental degradation remains at the center of scientific conversation on the South China Sea as more marine scientists sound the alarm about the environmental consequences of China’s island-building activities there. The problems facing the sea are as vast, deep, and seemingly intractable as the sea itself, and the need to address issues of acidification, biodiversity loss, climate change, and the destruction of coral reefs is urgent. The key is international scientific cooperation and for scientists from around the world to come together to provide policymakers with the information they need to make informed and responsible decisions in the South China Sea.
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The South China Sea Think Tank interviews James Borton about his experiences in the Chàm Islands, the emerging environmental awareness there, and the campaign to inspire Vietnamese youth to become more involved in national environmental issues.
As tensions in the South China Sea have risen, the Philippines v. China arbitration case and the Philippines’ decision, after many years of unsuccessful bilateral negotiations, to engage in lawfare have become a focal point of the maritime territorial disputes, leading many state and non-state actors to become increasingly involved in and vocal about South China Sea issues. The controversial nature of the issue has resulted in a proliferation of heated diplomatic and military interactions and, in many instances, hindered meaningful cooperation between relevant stakeholders. This report, as the result of a collaborative effort between authors from ten countries, aims to serve as an example of constructive international cooperation on South China Sea issues in the midst of heightened regional tensions.