The Contribution Of The Third United Nations Conference On The Law Of The Sea To The Development Of International Law And Its Codification Particularly From The Perspective Of Developing States

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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


International Studies


The two Geneva conferences on the Law of the Sea of 1958 and 1960 left many issues of the ocean unresolved such as: nuclear tests on the high seas; pollution of the high seas by radioactive materials; conservation of the living resources of the sea; the coastal states preferential rights to fishing; and the limit of the territorial sea and the outer margin of the continental shelf. The Four Geneva Conventions of 1958 are met with opposition by the Third World States. The developing states believe that these conventions are the product of a European law which for more than a century kept them colonized, exploited and oppressed. The world of today witnesses a change in international relations. Poor and underdeveloped states are "uniting" together to make a common claim for a better life. They are striving for a change in the existing international institutions.The Law of the Sea proved to be a controversial and decisive one because of the new development in technology and the territorialization and claim of rights over the ocean by states. These new developments were a challenge to international law in general and to the law of the sea in particular and proved the inadequacy of existing international institutions to meet today's problems. The widening economic gap between the prosperous and poverty-stricken nations of the world has propelled the underdeveloped nations of the world to place vigorous demands for a New International Economic Order.It is within this context that the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea was convened. It was an occasion for the underdeveloped nations to participate actively in the elaboration of a new legal order for the ocean.The Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea lasted nine years and produced a comprehension treaty on the law of the sea. The present study is an analysis of the decision-making process of the Third Conference on the Law of the Sea and the substantive innovations made to the traditional law of the sea. This dissertation suggests that the new procedural devices launched by U.N.C.L.O.S. III will be suitable for future United Nations conferences held for the Progressive Development of International Law and Its Codification.



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