Cover: Towards a Contemporary Vision for the Global Seafloor

Towards a Contemporary Vision for the Global Seafloor

Implementing the Common Heritage of Mankind
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The open ocean hosts an inconceivable wealth of marine life. Most of it remains unseen and unknown. Actually, the international community has agreed to develop a new legally binding agreement for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity by 2020. It aims to respond to the global ocean crisis caused by overfishing, pollution with plastics, ocean acidification, climate change, and other stressors from human activities. At the same time, States are also working on the legal framework for deep seabed mining – a considerable contradiction. As too little is known about the wealth that could be lost due to harmful impacts from mining activities, humankind should take its time to reflect, develop robust governance systems, and develop the knowledge needed to take informed decisions.

The present study, authored by scientists from different backgrounds, makes the eloquent case for such a reflection, pause, and reassessment. The publication is recommended to any reader concerned about our oceans' future.

A study by Sabine Christiansen, Duncan Currie, Kate Houghton, Aleander Müller, Manuel Rivera, Oscar Schmidt, Prue Taylor and Sebastian Unger

Product details
Date of Publication
October 2019
Heinrich Böll Foundation in cooperation with Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies
Number of Pages
Language of publication
978-3-86928-204-6 / 10.25530/03552.41
Table of contents



1. Introduction

2. The common heritage of mankind principle

  • The Area
  • The common heritage of mankind – then and now
  • A collective management of the Area
  • What are the intended benefits?
  • Reflections on current practice

3. Present mining interest

  • State of play
  • Uncertainties

4. What is at stake?

  • The environment
  • Cultural self-determination
  • Integrated governance
  • Outlook
  • Excursus: How deep seabed mining is currently «narrated»
  • From promising wealth to claiming necessity
  • «To mine, or not to mine»
  • Justice and common heritage: At the margins

5. Shaping a future discourse on the common heritage

  • A commons perspective
  • Mankind – raising concern and involvement
  • The common heritage of mankind and sustainable development
  • The contributions the common heritage can make
  • Outlook

6. Towards a contemporary vision for the common heritage

  • Solidarity
  • Sustainability
  • Governance
  • Conclusions
  • Abbreviations
  • Bibliography
  • About the authors
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