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Is The UN Convention On The Law Of The Sea The Legal Framework For All Activities In The Sea? The Case Of Bioprospecting

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Chapter Summary

The 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (LOS Convention) is a cornerstone in the process for the codification of international law. 'Bioprospecting' is the exploration of marine biodiversity for commercially valuable genetic and biochemical resources, or of gathering information from the seas and oceans on the molecular composition of genetic resources to enable the development of new commercial products. It is covered by LOS Convention, which requires states and international organisations to 'make available by publication and dissemination through appropriate channels information on proposed major programmes and their objectives as well as knowledge resulting from marine scientific research'. The international law of the sea is subject to a process of natural evolution, which is linked to state practice, and presents several aspects. In the instances where the LOS Convention regime is clearly unsatisfactory, a new instrument may be adopted to avoid the risk of undesirable consequences.

Keywords: Bioprospecting; Law of the sea; marine biodiversity; UN Convention



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