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Book Chapter

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UNCLOS, Article 82, extended continental shelf


Article 82 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea is a novel provision introducing the first-ever international royalty on production from non-living resources within national jurisdiction, specifically from the extended continental shelf as defined in Article 76. Article 82 has several textual ambiguities that could pose a challenge for its interpretation and implementation by both affected coastal States and the International Seabed Authority. The Authority is responsible for receiving payments or contributions in kind and for effecting their distribution to States Parties to the Convention, especially developing countries, in accordance with equitable criteria. The Authority has launched initiatives to help focus attention on the provision and to enhance its understanding and facilitate implementation. Article 82 is expected to be first activated on Canada’s extended continental shelf off Newfoundland in the Northwest Atlantic. In implementing Article 82 Canada faces domestic political, economic and legal challenges, in addition to the textual ambiguities. This chapter discusses the major issues and underscores the important leadership and precedential role played by Canada in domesticating Article 82 and developing a relationship with the Authority on this matter.