Responsibility to Ensure

Sponsoring States’ Environmental Legislation for Deep Seabed Mining and China’s Practice


The contractors are those private or state-owned companies that carry out exploration and exploitation activities in the Area, which, due to the lack of subjectivity under international law, are not obliged by the UNCLOS. In this book, Xiangxin Xu highlights and analyzes the sponsoring State’s primary responsibility, i.e., ensuring its sponsored contractors’ compliance with environmental obligations under the UNCLOS and related legal instruments by enacting national legislation. She examines how and to what extent the sponsoring State validates and implements the international system at the domestic level and makes up for the shortcomings of the international system in managing contractors. The author further takes China’s legislation as an example and provides how it can be improved.

Prices from (excl. shipping):

Add to Cart
Xiangxin Xu, Ph.D. (2020), Kiel University, Germany. She holds a research position at the Center for Polar and Deep Ocean Development, KoGuan Law School, Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU). Her specialty is on legal issues regarding deep seabed mining and she has publications in the relevant areas.
List of Figures and Tables
List of Treaties and Declarations
List of Cases


1 Mining Impacts on the Marine Environment and Deep Seabed Mining Regime
 1 Introduction
 2 Deep Seabed Mining and Its Impact on Marine Environment
  2.1 Deep Seabed Area in Geography and the Area under International Law
  2.2 Three Main Mineral Resources in the Area
  2.3 Possible Impacts of Mining Activities on the Marine Environment
  2.4 Mitigation Methods for Possible Negative Impacts
 3 Deep Seabed Mining Regime
  3.1 The Historical Development of Deep Seabed Mining Regime
  3.2 Framework and Principles of the Deep Seabed Mining Regime
  3.3 The System of the Prospecting, Exploration, and Exploitation of Mineral Resources in the Area
  3.4 The ISA
  3.5 Observations on the Current Deep Seabed Mining Regime
 4 Conclusion

2 Responsibility to Ensure
Primary Obligation of a Sponsoring State
 1 Introduction
 2 Terminology: Responsibility and Liability
 3 The Legal Genesis of Responsibilities of Sponsoring States
  3.1 Common Heritage of Mankind
  3.2 Sponsorship
 4 Sponsoring State’s Primary Responsibility and Its Implementation
  4.1 The Implications of the Concept “Responsibility to Ensure”
  4.2 Implementing “Responsibility to Ensure” as an Obligation of Conduct with High Standards
  4.3 Implementing “Responsibility to Ensure” “of Due Diligence”
  4.4 “Reasonably Appropriate” Implementing “Responsibility to Ensure”
 5 Liability of the Sponsoring State
  5.1 Basic Architecture of Liability in the Deep Seabed Mining Regime
  5.2 Conditions of Liability of the Sponsoring State under the LOSC
  5.3 Corollaries: Reparation or Exemption of Liability
  5.4 Liability Gaps and Possible Solutions
 6 Conclusion

3 Key Elements of “Reasonably Appropriate” Sponsoring States’ Environmental Legislation for Deep Seabed Mining in the Area
 1 Introduction
 2 Preliminary Issues
  2.1 Objectives
  2.2 Selection of Legislative Models
 3 Components of Environmental Legislation
  3.1 Thresholds of Accessing to Mining in the Area
  3.2 Environmental Duties and Obligations of a Contractor
  3.3 Rights of a Contractor
  3.4 Monitoring Oversight
  3.5 Liability of a Contractor and Enforcement
 4 Institutional Arrangement
  4.1 Legislative Body
  4.2 Regulatory Agency
  4.3 Monitoring Body
 5 Conclusion

4 China’s Legislation in Relation to Deep Seabed Mining in the Area
 1 Introduction
 2 Chinese Legal System
  2.1 Legislative Bodies
  2.2 Structure and Hierarchy
 3 Legal System of Deep Seabed Mining in the Area and Relevant Policy
  3.1 China’s Deep Seabed Law
  3.2 Measures for the Administration of Licensing for the Exploration and Exploitation of Resources in Deep Seabed Areas
 4 Other Legislation That May Be Related to Deep Seabed Mining in the Area
  4.1 Legislation on the Exploration and Exploitation of Mineral Resources
  4.2 Legislation on Marine Environmental Protection
  4.3 Interim Conclusion
 5 Institutional Arrangement for Mining Activities in the Area
 6 Proposals for Improvements to China’S Deep Seabed Law
  6.1 Proposals for Objectives and Structure
  6.2 Proposal for Granting a License: Procedural Requirements
  6.3 Proposal for Granting a License: Substantial Requirements
  6.4 Proposal for a Contractor’s Environmental Obligations
  6.5 Proposal for a Contractor’s Environmental Rights
  6.6 Proposal for Monitoring
  6.7 Proposal for Liability and Enforcement
  6.8 Proposal for Institutional Arrangement
 7 Conclusion

5 Conclusion
 1 Carrying out “Responsibility to Ensure”: Sponsoring State’s Regulatory Role in Ensuring Its Sponsored Contractor’s Compliance
  1.1 What Role Does a Sponsoring State Play to Ensure Its Sponsored Contractor’s Compliance?
  1.2 What Should Be Included in the Sponsoring State’s National Legislation?
  1.3 How Far a Sponsoring State Can Go to Ensure Its Sponsored Contractor’s Compliance?
 2 The Central Role of the isa to Organise and Control Activities in the Area
  2.1 isa’s Leading Legislative Role
  2.2 isa’s Primary Regulative Role
 3 Collective Efforts in Promoting a Sponsoring State’s National Legislation


Anyone is interested in the law of the sea, environmental issues as to deep seabed mining in the Area, issues regarding obligations and liabilities of the States and private actors, issues of China.
  • Collapse
  • Expand