A-17/21 Whose benefit? A comparative perspective for the ISA

This article provides a critical evaluation of the International Seabed Authority’s (ISA) management of Deep Sea Mining (DSM) activities in the undersea area lying beyond sovereign territory. By juxtaposing the ISA’s nascent regulatory framework against one of the world’s most successful resource management regimes in Norway, we can clearly see how the ISA is unable to pursue the sort of strategic ownership that is necessary to secure the rents generated from these natural resources; rents which rightfully belong to the common heritage of mankind. In particular, we suggest that the ISA should: secure a better balance of institutional power across its policy, regulatory and operational roles; develop a more explicit policy for protecting the public’s interest (both current and future generations) as the owner of these resources; play a more active role in assembling and managing the access it allocates to these resources; and begin the discussion about how best to manage the wealth generated by these resources in a way that can ensure its just distribution. Marine Policy, Volume 131, September 2021

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