International Centre for Ocean Governance

The waters of the oceans cover 72 per cent of the Earth. As well as being important sources of life, energy and food, oceans play a vital role in commerce and recreation. ICOG is dedicated to fostering a better understanding of the governance and management of world's oceans

About ICOG

ICOG conducts interdisciplinary research into ocean governance, applicable to international, regional and national regimes

Integrated and sustainable ocean governance through coastal zone management, marine spatial planning, climate change, sea level rise and climate adaption, with a focus on regional marine ecosystems in developing countries are focal areas of ICOG's research.

Oceans across the globe are currently under threat as never before. Human populations and activities have put the oceans at risk of irreversible damage through unsustainable development in coastal areas, resource extraction, overfishing, ocean acidification, loss of marine biodiversity, increased pollution, habitat depletion, increased maritime piracy, the effects of climate change and political conflicts.

The International Centre for Ocean Governance (ICOG) was established in 2016, encompassed within the School of Law, Western Sydney University (WSU). The ICOG working within the ambit of ocean governance undertakes the following activities in line with its research focus areas:

1. Interdisciplinary academic research efforts within both the university sector and industry, governmental, non-governmental and defence organisations;

2. Advisory services applicable to international, regional and national regimes/organizations in areas related to ocean governance;

3. Short and custom tailored training courses in areas relevant to ocean governance for industry, government and non-government organizations, and defence organisations.

The ICOG achieves its mission through this three-pronged institutional approach consisting of research, education and advisory services.

Mission Statement

To conduct interdisciplinary research, education and advisory services in the areas of ocean governance and related applicable areas, thereby contributing and increasing knowledge and understanding through these efforts on ocean governance, both in Australia and in the international sphere. This is achieved through the ICOG´s interdisciplinary research, education and advisory services provision.

Vision Statement

To become an internationally recognized centre of excellence for ocean governance research, education and advisory services provision, thereby developing, enhancing and contributing to a greater understanding and delivery of knowledge on ocean governance issues for the benefit of Australia and the world.


ICOG is only the second centre of its kind focusing on law of the sea/ocean governance research in Australia, and one of the few among other developed countries, it stands out as one of the few centres focusing research and development interests in this specialized research area in developing countries. The ICOG has recently undertaken work within the Bay of Bengal and Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) and surrounding seas, and is currently focusing research efforts in Latin America as another regional area of interest as it pursues its vision of establishing itself as an internationally recognized centre of excellence for ocean governance/law of the sea research.


ICOG Objectives

  • to develop joint research opportunities, supervision and funding for doctoral and postdoctoral students, for student and staff exchange, and for capacity building in ocean governance
  • to develop excellence in interdisciplinary research, advancing legal and policy frameworks for innovative and sustainable ocean governance that can be applied at international, regional and national levels
  • to build capacity of the governments of the Bay of Bengal region to transfer research and knowledge to their citizens on sustainable usage of the ocean and its resources, and to create partnerships between individual, governmental and non-governmental organisations to develop integrated ocean governance
  • to assist governments in the Bay of Bengal region to introduce improved planning and management strategies for sustainable ocean governance, including transboundary cooperation among littoral states of the Bay and the protection of the marine and coastal environments.
  • to promote innovative collaborative opportunities in marine resource management
  • to research and develop opportunities for sustainable human and economic development and food security through integrated ocean governance
  • to research and build capacity for innovative ocean governance that addresses the effects of climate change
  • to construct and provide professional and tailor-made short training courses for judges and lawyers on contemporary legal, judicial and policy issues
  • to achieve excellence in publications on issues related to ocean governance.

Collaborations and Partnerships

ICOG has an already established international research presence collaborating with active research groups and entities in a number of universities worldwide, and seeks to expand collaborations with more institutions and entities across the globe. ICOG has been actively working and pursuing collaborative activities with several institutions in Asia (particularly in the Bay of Bengal region and Australia), Europe, and South America. ICOG welcomes communications from overseas and national institutions with a desire to work collaboratively in the realm of ocean governance related projects, publications, events, staff exchange, student exchange, and joint academic activities including collaborative grant applications on sustainable ocean governance for submission to international and regional funding bodies.

  • Ghent University, Belgium
  • University of Trier, Germany
  • University of Eastern Finland, Finland
  • University of Lapland, Finland
  • Finnish Environment Institute, Finland
  • University of Dhaka (DU), Bangladesh
  • Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Maritime University (BSMRMU), Bangladesh
  • Ankara University Research Centre for the Sea and Maritime Law (DEHUKAM), Turkey
  • Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaiso, Chile
  • The University of Chile, Chile
  • The Armada de Chile, Chile

Research & Consultancy at ICOG

Our Research: Thematic Areas

The ICOG is a centre of excellence for ocean governance research. ICOG´s research activities are challenging and innovative, due to the interdisciplinary nature of ocean governance it allows for research collaboration between disciplines and associated scholars. ICOG is dedicated to facilitating the understanding and appreciation of the importance of ocean governance at a national, regional and global level.

  • Integrated ecosystem-based ocean governance (including legal and policy aspects)
  • Marine spatial planning (MSP)
  • MSP from socioeconomic and environmental perspectives
  • Legal aspects of MSP
  • Transboundary dimensions of MSP
  • Sustainable management of freshwater wetland and coastal environments
  • Understanding of the relationships among plant communities, animal communities and the coastal environment
  • Climate change impacts and adaptation strategies
  • Marine pollution control
  • Integrated coastal zone management
  • Marine biodiversity
  • Marine fisheries management
  • Maritime security
  • Maritime delimitation
  • Maritime piracy
  • Admiralty court system
  • Settlement of maritime disputes
  • Renewable energy

Consultancy and Advisory Services

  • Marine spatial planning
  • Maritime boundary delimitation between neighbouring states
  • Regional marine ecosystem management
  • The international law relating to the polar regions, fisheries
  • Marine scientific research
  • Navigational issues
  • Protection and preservation of the marine environment
  • Conservation of marine biodiversity
  • Dispute settlement and litigation
  • Drafting of treaty texts
  • Drafting of national legislation
  • Drafting of policy documents
  • Providing assistance to states and others in engaging with international bodies
  • Legal advice in litigation
  • Implementation of ocean governance principles
  • Consulting on the application of tools such as marine spatial planning

Courses and Degrees offered by ICOG

Tailor-Made Courses

ICOG offers tailor-made courses on the law of the sea and ocean governance that can be designed in consultation with specific needs. Short courses can be expanded to include different content based on the specific requirements. The content can be adjusted to relate to military, fisheries, environment, policy, admiralty, and other sector specific needs to list a few examples.

To this end, ICOG offers tailor made courses as they relate to ocean governance and the ICOG´s thematic research areas.

• Intensive and interdisciplinary courses in various aspects of maritime activities.

• Global perspective on ocean and coastal governance issues with emphasis on viewing the ocean as a complex system with varied users and multiple, often competing and conflicting uses.

• Lectures, interactive discussions, field trips, simulations and exercises, individual participant presentations, and a concluding Round Table of ocean specialists.

• Speakers and trainers include local and international experts and practitioners in maritime related issues.

• Deepen participants understanding of the complexity and role of oceans issues in sustainable development

• Strengthen and update their academic knowledge while being exposed to practical lessons drawn from actual experience in integrated coastal and ocean management

• Develop relevant skills, leadership abilities and networks to help them apply their new knowledge

• Assist their countries towards maximising through the proper integration of coastal and ocean management into national and international development strategies.

Coursework Degrees

ICOG is currently considering development of a specially designed Masters programme, the Master of Ocean Governance (MOG). This programme aims to provide the student with a better understanding of ocean governance, and a deeper knowledge of marine environmental justice, maritime security and the 'Blue economy' and their wider applications.

Research Degrees

ICOG offers two research degrees: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and Master of Philosophy (MPhil).

If you are interested in undertaking a Higher Degree by Research (HDR) please send an expression of interest to the School of Law, Western Sydney University. If your application is suitable, we will contact you and you may move on to the next step to discuss your application.

Contact ICOG

Building EJc
School of Law
Parramatta Campus
Western Sydney University
Parramatta, NSW 2151, Australia.

Postal Address
ICOG, School of Law, Western Sydney University
Locked Bag 1797
Penrith NSW 2751