Global Solidarity, Differentiated Responsibilities and the Law of the Sea

Barnes, Richard (2022) Global Solidarity, Differentiated Responsibilities and the Law of the Sea. Netherlands Yearbook of International Law, 51 (1). ISSN 0167-6768

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The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 appears to be strongly concerned with common interests and goals; the Convention could be characterised as enshrining the idea of global solidarity. Global solidarity is concerned with cooperation between States to address issues of collective concern in a way that recognises differences in individual States’ needs and capacities. There has been a rise in interest in global solidarity in some areas of international law, such as human rights, environment, health, and climate, but the potential to global solidarity to frame our thinking about the law of the sea has not yet been explored. As well as a gap in the law of the sea literature on global solidarity, there remain wider questions about how global solidarity should be framed as a legal concept. This chapter begins to address this gap on solidarity in the law of the sea literature, as well as contribute to wider discussions about the role and function of global solidarity. I present an analytical framework for global solidarity that captures six dimensions of solidarity thinking (participation, common goals, normative priorities, differential commitments, delivery mechanisms, and accountability). Particular attention is given to the core idea of differential commitments. This framework is then applied to two aspects of the 1982 Convention: marine environmental protection and fisheries. I show that although the inclusion of differential commitments in the law of the sea appears to support solidarity goals, the way that such commitments are structured serves to inhibits our ability to pursue global solidarity. Other fundamental concerns, such the emphasis on uniform standards in shipping, or the priority afforded to exclusive fishing by coastal States, run counter to solidarity and differential commitments. In some instances, this serves to increase the dependence of some states on others rather than empower them. If we are to advance global solidarity then there is much work to do to demonstrate the benefits of solidarity, as well as work through how solidarity might play out against other fundamental interests that are not so necessarily aligned with solidarity goals.

Keywords:global solidarity, international cooperation, common but differentiated responsibilities, UNCLOS, protection of marine environment, International law, fisheries
Subjects:M Law > M130 Public International Law
ID Code:47867
Deposited On:31 Jan 2022 10:12

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