This is an extract of our The Law Of The Sea Notes document, which we sell as part of our Public International Law Notes collection written by the top tier of Oxford students.
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The law of the Sea
14. What contribution can be made by International Law to the protection of the global environment
Subject of the first successful attempt of the ILC to place a large segment of IL on a multilateral treaty basis. o 4 conventions were produced from the 2 Geneva Conferences on the Law of the Sea of 1958 and 1960
? Geneva conventions on
The territorial Sea and Contiguous zone o 52 parties
On the high seas o 63 parties
On the continental shelf o 58 parties
Fishing and conservation of the living resources of the high sea o 38 parties
? The UK is a party to all
? There is also an optional protocol on the settlement of disputes
38 parties including the UK
The high seas convention is said to be "generally declaratory of established principles of IL" (preamble)
No such claim is made for the other conventions o Mixture of codification and "progressive development"
? Art 15 of high seas convention is clearly "progressive development" - article on piracy
? Often difficult to know which group an article falls into
? North Sea Continental Shelf Cases have shown that it must not be too readily assumed that a treaty provision even in a "law making" treaty states a rule of CIL.
Although the Geneva conventions were a considerable achievement, they were not perfect o They did not contain a rule of the basic question of the width of the territorial sea o They did not contain a rule on the fishing rights, if any, of coastal states beyond their territorial sea o They have also been overtaken by scientific and political developments
? Development of new techniques for underwater exploitation of oil resources has made it necessary to reconsider the regime of the continental shelf and to establish a regime for the deep sea bed.
? Concern for conservation of fishing resources and pollution has grown
This has led to a general approval of an approach based upon control by the coastal state over wide areas of the sea adjacent to its coastline
? Most post-colonial states had had no say in the drafting of the Geneva Conventions of 1958
? State practice on the width of territorial waters had changed
? Archipelagos and landlocked states had been pressing for better treatment o This all led to the decision to call a 3rd UN Conference on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS III) The 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea Underlying theme of the convention is that it should "contribute to the realisation of a just and equitable international economic order which takes in account the interests and needs of mankind as a whole, and the special interests and needs of developing countries, whether coastal or landlocked" PREAMBLE.
Covers in its 320 articles all of the grounds of the 4 conventions above and quite a lot more o Establishes
? a exclusive economic zone
? acceptance of 12 mile territorial sea
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