News-CRUX-10     27th March 2024        

Context: India recently applied to the International Seabed Authority (ISBA) in Jamaica for rights to explore two extensive tracts in the Indian Ocean seabed that fall outside its jurisdiction.

International Seabed Authority

  • About: It is an autonomous international organization established under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the 1994 Agreement
  • Control of Mineral Resources: ISA serves as the organization through which States Parties to UNCLOS organize and control all mineral-resources-related activities in the Area for the benefit of humankind as a whole.
  • Environmental Protection Mandate: ISA is mandated to ensure the effective protection of the marine environment from harmful effects that may arise from deep-seabed-related activities.
  • Establishment: On 16 November 1994, ISA became fully operational as an autonomous international organization in June 1996.
  • Headquarters: Kingston, Jamaica.
  • Membership169 Members, including 168 Member States and the European Union.
  • Common Heritage of Humankind: The Area and its resources, covering approximately 54% of the world's oceans, are considered the common heritage of humankind.

Exclusive Rights

  • Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ): Countries are granted exclusive rights to resources up to 200 nautical miles from their borders.
  • Continental Shelf Extension: Some coastal states may extend their jurisdiction beyond the 200-mile limit, encompassing the underlying seabed known as the continental shelf.
  • ISBA Approval Process: The ISBA, an appointed scientific commission, evaluates claims for extended jurisdiction based on provided evidence.

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