The 1994 Agreement on Implementation of Part XI of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) was a landmark treaty that sought to regulate and govern the use of the world`s oceans, particularly its seabeds and subsoil resources.
The Agreement was negotiated by the United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea, which met from 1973 to 1982, and was later adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1994. It aimed to address the concerns of developing countries about the exploitation of deep-sea resources, which they feared could lead to the dominance of industrialized nations and the exclusion of developing countries.
Part XI of UNCLOS deals specifically with the rules and procedures for the exploitation of the seabed and the ocean floor beyond the limits of national jurisdiction. It defines the concept of the “Area,” which refers to the seabed and ocean floor and its subsoil beyond the limits of national jurisdiction, and establishes the International Seabed Authority (ISA) to regulate and administer the resources of the Area.
The Agreement introduced a new system for the exploitation of deep-sea resources, which was based on a number of principles, including the principle of the common heritage of mankind, which holds that the resources of the Area are the common heritage of all mankind and should be used for the benefit of all.
Under the Agreement, the ISA is responsible for granting exploration and exploitation licenses and ensuring that activities in the Area are carried out in a manner that protects the marine environment and promotes the interests of all states, particularly developing countries.
The Agreement also provides for the transfer of technology and financial resources to developing countries to enable them to participate in the exploitation of deep-sea resources. It establishes a mechanism for the distribution of financial benefits derived from activities in the Area to all states, particularly those that are landlocked or have a small coastal area.
Since its adoption in 1994, the Agreement has been ratified by 168 states and has played an important role in regulating and governing the use of the world`s oceans. It has also been the subject of ongoing discussions and negotiations among states, particularly with regard to the sharing of benefits derived from the exploitation of deep-sea resources.
In conclusion, the 1994 Agreement on Implementation of Part XI of UNCLOS is a significant treaty that seeks to regulate and govern the use of the world`s oceans, particularly its seabeds and subsoil resources. It has provided a framework for the equitable and sustainable exploitation of deep-sea resources, and has helped to promote the interests of all states, particularly developing countries.