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The Sponsoring State’s ‘Obligation to Ensure’ in the Development of the International Seabed Area

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image of The International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law

AbstractAt the request of the International Seabed Authority, in 2011 the Seabed Dispute Chamber of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea rendered its first Advisory Opinion: to clarify the ambiguous rules of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea concerning the obligations and liabilities of a sponsoring State in the development of the international seabed area. According to the Opinion, the sponsoring State’s ‘obligation to ensure’ is an obligation of conduct and due diligence; the sponsoring State should take necessary and appropriate measures to fulfill the obligation under its domestic legal system; obligations and liabilities shall apply equally to the developed and developing States; the sponsoring State could avoid strict liability and compensation when fulfilling its ‘obligation to ensure’ due to the due diligence nature of the obligation. In light of this new development in the law concerning the international seabed area, East Asian States should take measures to improve their legislation and administration accordingly.

Affiliations: 1: Wuhan University Institute of International LawP. R. China


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