Law of the Sea

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Dispute Settlement Under the BBNJ Agreement: Accepting Part XV of the UNCLOS with a Twist

Introduction On 4 March 2023, the Implementing Agreement on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Biological Diversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ Agreement) under the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) was adopted after nearly two decades of negotiations. As the third ‘child’ of UNCLOS, the Agreement acquires from its parents and siblings some core characteristics but is also endowed with its own characteristics. With regards to dispute settlement, this means the BBNJ Agreement, similarly to its sister Fish Stocks Agreement, incorporates the dispute settlement system of Part XV of UNCLOS, while introducing new conditions and limitations for the availability of compulsory procedures. This post provides a first assessment of how dispute settlement under the BBNJ Agreement differs from UNCLOS and the implications of these differences. The article numbering used in this blog post is based on the advanced, unedited text adopted on 4 March 2023.

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How could the BBNJ Agreement affect the International Seabed Authority’s Mining Code?

On 4 March 2023, a new treaty text was finalized for an agreement on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ Agreement). This historic achievement could change the way we manage and use the ocean in areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ). Once the BBNJ Agreement is formally adopted, a key question will…

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The Crotone Migrant Shipwreck: A Cat-and-Mouse Blame Game and the Role of Technologies at External Borders

There are myriad ways States could exercise effective remote control over the rights of persons, including detrimental rescue instructions, as well as policy and operational arrangements that can hinder human rights protection. On 26 February 2023, a migrant shipwreck off the Italian coast of Crotone, yet again ‘shocked’ the European Union (EU). Indeed, it has been quite a…

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REY-Rich Mud: An Ocean Resource in Want of Regulation

Rare earth elements and yttrium (REY) are rapidly becoming a new frontier in global competition over resources. REY are of critical importance in the development of green energy and are also needed for consumer goods, such as smartphones, computer screens and telescopic lenses, and in medical and military technologies. In 2019, the United States imported 80%…

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Recommendations on the Russian Federation’s Proposed Outer Continental Shelf in the Arctic Area

On 6 February 2023 the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) made its recommendations to the Russian Federation under Article 76(8) and Article 3 of Annex II to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in regard to the Arctic area. The Russian submission was initially made in…

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