A Guardian of Universal Interest or Increasingly Out of its Depth? The International Seabed Authority turns 25

French, Duncan and Collins, Richard (2019) A Guardian of Universal Interest or Increasingly Out of its Depth? The International Seabed Authority turns 25. International Organizations Law Review . ISSN 1572-3739

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Item Type:Article
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Abstract

In contemporary debates on the authority of global institutions, there is an important yet
often overlooked organisational curiosity: namely, the International Seabed Authority
(ISA). The ISA reflects a highpoint in international communitarian governance.
Premised around traditional notions of access, control and allocation of deep seabed
resources, its mandate is both invariably spatial-temporal, and yet also limited and
functional. Its purpose is to govern the extraction of seabed mineral resources for the
collective benefit of the international community. To achieve that ambition, however, a
highly complex and bureaucratic regulatory structure has been established. In this
paper we aim to consider this tension in the mandate of the ISA, particularly insofar as
it manifests in aspects of its institutional design and functioning in practice.
Understanding these dynamics not only helps one better understand governance of the
deep seabed, but also broadly demonstrates the innate tensions in granting
institutional control over common spaces.

Keywords:International Seabed Authority, law of the sea, international organisations, international environmental law, ocean governance, common heritage of mankind
Subjects:M Law > M130 Public International Law
Divisions:College of Social Science > Lincoln Law School
ID Code:34948
Deposited On:05 Mar 2019 13:34

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