The Agreement relating to the implementation of Part XI of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) of 10 December 1982 is commonly referred to as the “Implementation Agreement.” It is an international treaty that was adopted in order to establish the legal framework for the exploitation of deep-sea minerals beyond national jurisdiction.
Part XI of UNCLOS deals with the provisions for the exploration and exploitation of the resources of the international seabed area, which is defined as the seabed and ocean floor and the subsoil thereof beyond the limits of national jurisdiction. The Implementation Agreement was negotiated separately from UNCLOS to address concerns raised by certain states regarding the governance and management of the international seabed area.
The key provisions of the Implementation Agreement include:
- The establishment of the International Seabed Authority (ISA): The ISA is an international organization tasked with regulating and managing the resources of the international seabed area. It has the authority to grant exploration and exploitation rights to both states and private entities.
- Principles governing the exploration and exploitation of resources: The Agreement sets out the principles and criteria for the granting of exploration and exploitation licenses, ensuring that activities in the international seabed area are conducted for the benefit of humankind as a whole.
- The financial regime: The Agreement establishes a financial mechanism to ensure the equitable sharing of financial and other economic benefits derived from activities in the international seabed area. This includes the creation of the Enterprise, a subsidiary body of the ISA responsible for commercial activities.
- The dispute settlement mechanism: The Agreement provides for a dispute settlement process, including the compulsory submission of disputes to arbitration or the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.
The Implementation Agreement aims to strike a balance between the interests of states and the international community as a whole in the exploitation of deep-sea minerals. It seeks to prevent any one state from claiming exclusive control over these resources while promoting their sustainable and equitable use.
It’s important to note that my knowledge cutoff is in September 2021, so there might have been developments or updates to this agreement since then.