dimanche 12 juin 2011

Compounded Essay: small states and the development of the 200 mile EEZ at UNCLOS III

The goal of the compounded essay is to shrink all the work I did in one term into a page.

The 200 mile EEZ arising from UNCLOS III was the result of small states coming together to create a new international norm by focusing on the issue utilizing their limited material capabilities in order to assert their sovereignty. More importantly, they perceived themselves as system-affecting and thus temporarily changed their international statuses to achieve their goals.

Keohane’s definition of a small state as one “whose leaders consider that it can never, acting alone or in a small group, make a significant impact on the system”[1] will be useful here. These states tend to have one important industrial field and a small administration. This likely places them in the system-ineffectual to system-affecting camps to use Keohane and Thorhallsson’s terminology.[2][3]

By UNCLOS III, “Latin American disaffection with the three-mile rule was paralleled in other areas where underdeveloped states sought to protect their fishing grounds from the fishing fleets of the industrialized nations”[4] and “maritime delimitation was perceived as an “outstanding core issue.”[5] The United States and the Soviet Union had many interests and felt threatened by these expanding claims made by smaller states.[6] Committee II would formally proceed “by vote, but only after consensus, or least near-consensus”[7] was achieved. “After a survey of several limits, [Ambassador Pardo of Malta] suggested the establishment of a distance of 200 miles from the nearest coast as the outer limit of coastal state jurisdiction.”[8] This proposition, while initially contested by larger states eventually found the support of the Conference.

Despite the important number of issues to be debated, [9] small states focused on their core issues, such as this one, while trading-off less important ones. Whether the 200 mile EEZ was meant to become an international norm or not is debated in the literature. Regardless, it is an important case of small states helping to enact a well-respected international norm. It furthers research from Ingebritsen which asserts that small states can act as norm-developers and builders within international regimes.[10]

The next challenge is to protect small island states from destruction due to climate change. Though they have created an Alliance, it has yet to have an impact on the creation of a new norm. Part of the problem is that these states are micro-states with miniscule representation on the international scene. They are truly system-ineffective despite banding together.

[1] Robert Keohane, “Lilliputians’ Dilemmas: Small States in International Politics,” International Organization, 23 (2), p.296
[2] Baldur Thorhallsson, “Can Small States Choose Their Own Size? The Case of a Nordic State – Iceland,” p.121
[3] Robert Keohane, “Lilliputians’ Dilemmas: Small States in International Politics,” p.295-6
[4] Sayre Swaztrauber, The Three-Mile Limit of the Territorial Sea, p.180
[5] The Legal Determination of International Maritime Boundaries, p.94
[6] The Legal Determination of International Maritime Boundaries, p.82
[7] Robert Friedheim, Negotiating the New Ocean Regime, p.83
[8] R.P. Anand, Legal Regime of the Seabed and the Developing Countries, A.W. Sijthoff Publishing: New Delhi, 1976, p.170
[9] Robert Friedheim, Negotiating the New Ocean Regime, p.77
[10] Christine Ingebritsen, “Norm Entrepreneurs: Scandinavia’s Role in World Politics, » Cooperation and Conflict: Journal of the Nordic International Studies Association, 37 (1), 11-23

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