Soundings Papers: The Impacts of Climate Change on Maritime Boundaries in the Western Pacific

Soundings No. 28
Soundings No. 28

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Madeleine Gordon

In 1982, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) was adopted. It was designed as the legal authority on the oceans and seas, an all-encompassing guide to the maritime domain. In many respects, it has fulfilled this role. However, it did not anticipate climate change. Under UNCLOS, the legal status of maritime zones is dependent on the existence of certain geophysical formations, many of which are threatened by climate change.