Discuss the legal and institutional framework to regulate and control the extraction of natural resources in seabed area beyond the limits of national jurisdictions.

The International law, based around the notion of State sovereignty, confers exclusive rights on each State to adopt its own national laws and policies within its land territory and the maritime zones over which it has jurisdiction. However, there is an estimated 64 % of the world’s oceans which are beyond national jurisdiction. With respect to it, there are various legal and institutional framework to regulate and control the extraction of natural resources in seabed area beyond the limits of national jurisdictions. Some of the frameworks are-

  • The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) forms the cornerstone of the law of the sea. One of the ways it seeks to balance the interests of States in different capacities is through the organisation of marine space into different maritime zones. Coastal States enjoy sovereignty or sovereign rights over the maritime zones in the waters adjacent to their coasts. Beyond the maritime zones under coastal State jurisdiction lie the high seas and the international sea bed which is defined in UNCLOS as the ‘Area’. All States enjoy conditional freedoms over the high seas including as regards navigation, fishing and marine scientific research.
  • The International Seabed Authority (ISA) is an international body established under UNCLOS.
  • The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is the principal instrument of international law which is concerned with the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. The CBD is also applicable to resources found in the seabed.
Question for UPSC Mains:
Discuss the legal and institutional framework to regulate and control the extraction of natural resources in seabed area beyond the limits of national jurisdictions.

Published: January 17, 2017 | Modified:June 27, 2019

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