Klaas Willaert

Fair Share: Equitable Distribution of Deep Sea Mining Proceeds

(2022) International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law. 37.

One of the vital principles within the international regime governing the deep seabed is the status of the Area (comprising the seabed and subsoil beyond national jurisdiction) and its mineral resources as the common heritage of mankind. This abstract concept encompasses a wide array of interrelated components, though one of the most crucial premises is that activities in the Area must be carried out for the benefit of mankind as a whole, entailing equitable sharing of financial and other economic benefits derived from deep sea mining operations. As a result, the International Seabed Authority (ISA) is tasked with developing a suitable payment and distribution mechanism, which takes the needs and interests of developing States into particular consideration. This article analyses the overarching rules and principles, assesses the available options and offers insightful thoughts on the way forward.