The transfer of marine technology
in The law of the sea
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Developing States have long argued that the lack of appropriate technology is an obstacle to their development. During the 1970s the UN General Assembly adopted a number of resolutions calling for the mandatory transfer of technology. While never accepted by developed States, those calls left their mark on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. As originally drafted, Part XI required those engaged in mining in the Area to transfer relevant technology to developing States. However, the Implementation Agreement (1994) removed that obligation, as explained in chapter twelve. This chapter examines other provisions in the Convention on the transfer of technology, notably those in Part XIV, which is exclusively concerned with the topic. It is argued that the provisions of Part XIV are purely hortatory, not least because they do not adequately address the intellectual property issues involved in the transfer of technology. The chapter goes on to discuss the ‘Criteria and Guidelines on the Transfer of Marine Technology’ adopted by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission and action taken thereunder. The last part of the chapter suggests that over the years the emphasis in international fora has shifted from the transfer of technology to capacity-building, as the latter is a less politically loaded term and broader in concept. Examples are given of capacity-building in relation to ocean affairs undertaken by international organisations.

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