Site: International Waters
Conflict: Natural Resources
Intro: With over seventy percent of our planet covered in water, issues of international jurisdiction were inevitable. The number of ongoing conflicts over navigational waterways, pollution controls and even more importantly, claims to natural resources, have rapidly accelerated due to the advancement of technology. Boundaries over bodies of water, ranging anywhere from rivers to oceans, remain blurry and are poorly defined due to constant environmental changes. Legalities only emerged within the past century, succeeding the 17th century creed, ‘freedom of the seas’. Borders extended from three nautical miles to anywhere between 12 to 200 off the coastline in later years, depending on discovery and national clout. There are no prescriptive solutions to address climate change, with nebulous definitions of scale. The first attempts at governance was through the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, offering several amended treaties since 1956. Though, they are a far cry from omniscient regulatory measures. Specifications would emerge in the late 20th century in Part XI and the 1994 agreement, but without the needed signatures and ratification. Thus, it is perceived as a necessary boundary by the powers that wish to claim the territory, but ridiculed as a farce for others. Globalization would complicate these lines even further, establishing unmonitored trade operations between international economies. Each nation, or player, remains dubious of one another, but acknowledges the risk of isolationism. Although these governments attempt to tiptoe around controversial matters, depleting resources are forcing immediate confrontation.
Case Studies/Discursive Materials:
International Whaling Commission (http://iwcoffice.org/)
Somalian Piracy (http://www.economist.com/node/21532289)