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James Harrison

The seabed beyond national jurisdiction is the location of a number of significant mineral resources, including valuable metals and scarce elements. Access to these resources is subject to a special regime found in Part XI of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. This chapter considers the regulatory framework that applies to the resources of the deep seabed, examining the mandate of the institutions set up to oversee deep seabed mining and how they have sought to regulate this type of activity. The operationalization of the international regime relating to the exploration and exploitation of the deep seabed has taken place over several decades, but the task has recently become more pressing, as commercial exploitation of deep seabed minerals is now expected in the near future. With this in mind, the chapter analyses how states have balanced various factors in designing the rules applicable to seabed mining, including the balance between economic exploitation on the one hand and protection of the rare and fragile ecosystems of the deep sea on the other hand. It will also consider what challenges remain for the international community in designing and implementing this regulatory regime.
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James Harrison

The international legal framework for the protection of the marine environment has seen rapid development in recent decades and there is little doubt that international institutions have played a leading role in this process. This chapter provides an overview of the types of institutions that are active in this field and the different ways in which they are involved in the making and implementation of international marine environmental law. The chapter draws upon both international legal scholarship and relevant theories from international relations, in order to explain the influence of international institutions and other international actors in developing and implementing rules and principles for the protection of the marine environment. Finally, it considers problems that may arise from the multiplicity of institutions that are involved in the protection of the marine environment and it evaluates some of the solutions that have been put forward to counter the fragmentation of the law-making process. The chapter argues that the focus of future research would be better directed towards improving mechanisms for the effective cooperation and coordination of existing institutions, rather than towards the establishment of a new global institution dedicated to all aspects of marine environmental protection.