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Common heritage of mankind

Egede, Edwin ORCID: 2014. Common heritage of mankind. Carty, Anthony, ed. Oxford Bibliographies Online: International Law, Oxford University Press,

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The “common heritage of mankind” (CHM), sometimes also called the common heritage of humankind or humanity, compared with age-old concepts such as res nullius and res communis, is of relatively recent origin. It represents the notion that certain global commons or elements regarded as beneficial to humanity as a whole should not be unilaterally exploited by individual states or their nationals, nor by corporations or other entities, but rather should be exploited under some sort of international arrangement or regime for the benefit of mankind as a whole. Although there is some debate as to the actual origin of the concept of CHM, there is no doubt that the concept actually assumed prominence after the speech of Arvid Pardo, the Maltese ambassador to the United Nations, delivered at the United Nations General Assembly in November 1967, calling for the deep seabed beyond national jurisdiction and the resources contained therein to be declared the common heritage of mankind. This speech, which provided the most comprehensive and properly articulated proposal on the concept, was motivated by reports of rich resources in this part of the sea, and by the possibility that the rich states with the technology to do so would unilaterally exploit the resources to the exclusion of poorer states. There have been debates on whether this concept is a legal one or merely a political or moral idea. Further, there have been disputes as to whether it connotes communal ownership or merely joint management of global commons that are held to be CHM. Initially, the concept was associated solely with the law of the sea, but it has since been expanded to other domains, such as outer space and the Moon, Antarctica, human rights, human genomes, and plant genetic resources.

Item Type: Book Section
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Department of Politics and International Relations (POLIR)
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Additional Information: Oxford Bibliographies Online [database] offers peer-reviewed annotated bibliographies on specific topics in a growing range of subject areas
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Last Modified: 27 Oct 2022 08:35

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