Joan Yang joined Pew in 2010 as a senior officer for international ocean policy. She coordinates Pew’s work at the United Nations with a focus on marine issues: preservation of biodiversity, ocean governance and sustainable use of marine species.
Before joining Pew, Yang was the deputy permanent representative with the Permanent Mission of Palau to the United Nations, where she represented that country in numerous international forums, negotiating on issues such as climate change and fisheries management. Previously, she was acting attorney general and assistant attorney general in Palau, where she investigated and prosecuted several high-profile environmental and criminal cases, including the first successful prosecution of a vessel for illegal shark finning. She was also a court attorney for the New York State Supreme Court and an assistant district attorney in Queens County, New York.
Yang holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and East Asian studies from Columbia University and a J.D. from Washington University School of Law.
While perhaps well-intentioned, States, and in particular the major fishing States, have failed to live up to the relevant provisions of the Rio Declaration and its progeny, particularly for the ocean. Twenty years later, it is imperative to ensure that the principles, goals and targets that were agreed to in prior negotiations are implemented, and to forge a new way forward. The principles, goals and targets highlighted in this brief continue to be highly relevant today. There can be no healthy Planet Earth, no “green economy”, and indeed no sustainable future for humanity, without a healthy ocean. More
Oceans are currently managed through a fragmented system where national and international bodies possess separate and overlapping jurisdictions. This has created an international structure of governance that lags far behind the threats posed to marine ecosystems. Moreover, measures established by existing institutions to tackle gaps and inadequacies in ocean governance have not been broadly and effectively implemented. The Pew Environment Group has compiled a number of recommendations to bridge existing gaps and reform ocean governance in line with the themes of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. More