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A Legal Regime for the Biodiversity of the Area

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Chapter Summary

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) was negotiated with the purpose of regulating in one single instrument all the aspects of the law of the sea. Nevertheless, when UNCLOS was negotiated, it was assumed that the lack of sunlight in the deep seabed did not allow any form of life, and the interest concentrated on mineral resources, in particular polymetallic nodules. At present, it is known that while the exploitation of minerals seems to be far in the future, the use of biological organisms of the Area could be the most profitable activity in the near future. Although Part XI of the Convention and the provisions of the 1994 Agreement provide the legal regime applicable to the activities in the Area, a legal difficulty arises: the definition of "resources of the Area" provided in Article 133(a) of the Convention is limited to "mineral resources".

Keywords: biological diversity; biological organisms; mineral resources; polymetallic nodules; UNCLOS



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