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The Concept Of The Common Heritage Of Mankind: Its Viability As A Management Tool For Deep-Sea Genetic Resources

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Chapter Summary

Many living organisms in the deep sea possess unique genetic dispositions due to their adaptation to a particularly hostile environment in darkness, cold and high pressure. Such resources are often labeled 'genetic resources' to distinguish them inter alia from other marine living resources which are exploited for consumption. While the Convention on the Law of the Sea (LOS Convention) deals specifically with mineral resources of the Area and establishes an institutional regime based upon the concept of the common heritage of mankind for them, genetic resources are not mentioned. The establishment of an instrument on genetic resources of the deep sea which is based upon the concept of the common heritage of mankind would certainly be a radical difference to exclusive sovereignty on the one hand and complete freedom on the other. Cooperation between States is the essential element to effectively address marine issues.

Keywords: common heritage approach; deep-sea genetic resources; LOS convention



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