Elisabeth Mann Borgese and the Law of the Sea


In the late twentieth century, as the United Nations struggled to come up with a new legal system for the oceans, one woman saw the opportunity to promote radical new ideas of justice and internationalism. Ocean governance expert Elisabeth Mann Borgese (1918–2002) spent decades working with the United Nations Law of the Sea Convention. Throughout this sprawling series of global conferences, she navigated allegiances and enmities, intrigues and setbacks, fighting determinedly to develop a just ocean order.

Featuring extensive research and new interviews with Mann Borgese’s colleagues and family, this book explores timeless questions of justice and international collaboration and asks whether the extraordinary drive and vision of a single person can influence the course of international law.
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Tirza Meyer, Ph.D. (2018), the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, is a contemporary historian and writer. She currently works as a postdoctoral researcher at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden.
The press about volume 1 in the series:
"[The book] succeeds as an excellent point of entry to what at times can seem like a highly complex subject. [..] [The editors] and their fellow contributors have undoubtedly got the new series off to the strongest possible start." – Warren Swain, The Edinburgh Law Review



List of Figures


part 1
Elisabeth Mann Borgese’s Introduction to World and Ocean Governance 1918–67
1Elisabeth Mann Borgese’s Introduction to World Governance
 1 Elisabeth Mann Borgese’s Life in Time-Lapse

 2 Making Connections – An Intellectual Love with Giuseppe Antonio Borgese

 3 The Chicago Committee to Frame a World Constitution

 4 A New World Constitution

 5 From Secretary to Academic

 6 Retreat to Italy

 7 The Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions in Santa Barbara

2Reordering the Oceans
 1 How Free Are the Oceans?

 2 Moving Towards a New Law of the Sea

 3 Nation States Reach Out for Territory in the Oceans

 4 Access to Resources Makes Ocean Governance a Pressing Issue Post-War

 5 Preparing for the First Convention on Ocean Governance

 6 unclos i – Defining Legal Concepts, 1958

 7 unclos ii – Failing to Fill Out Legal Concepts, 1960

part 2
Preparing for the Law of the Sea Convention 1967–73
3The Maltese Initiative Changes Ocean Governance
 1 Dipping into the Oceans – A Letter to Santa Barbara

 2 A Person of Rare Vision?

 3 Arvid Pardo – From Political Prisoner to Diplomat

 4 The Maltese Initiative – Did Pardo Really Do It Single-Handedly?

 5 Arvid Pardo’s Interest in Ocean Governance

 6 Malta Prepares the Seabed Proposal

 7 The Seabed Committee Is Born

4Pacem in Maribus – A Think Tank for Ocean Questions
 1 Can Santa Barbara Become a Think Tank for Ocean Questions?

 2 Pacem in Maribus – An Ambitious Undertaking

 3 Reaching Out to the Seabed Committee

 4 Discussions and Achievements of Pacem in Maribus

 5 Defining Pressing Ocean Governance Problems

5‘The Ocean Regime’ and the ‘Draft Ocean Space Treaty’
 1 A Holistic Treaty – Elisabeth Mann Borgese’s ‘The Ocean Regime’

 2 An Ocean Regime through Participation

 3 From Ocean Regime to World Regime?

 4 Arvid Pardo’s Convictions and Visions for the Future

 5 The Maltese ‘Draft Ocean Space Treaty’

6Rise and Decline of Headquarters
 1 Malta’s Struggle for Direction

 2 Dom Mintoff – A Stumbling Block for Elisabeth Mann Borgese and Arvid Pardo?

 3 Arvid Pardo’s Demotion from Ambassador to Seabed Delegate

 4 Big Plans for Malta – Establishing the International Ocean Institute

 5 Dreaming about the Headquarters of the Ocean Regime on Malta

 6 Review of Networks and Re-Grouping to Face unclos iii

part 3
Negotiating the Law of the Sea 1973–82
7unclos iii – Haves against Have-Nots
 1 The World Order Complicates Ocean Governance Negotiations

 2 The Structure of the Negotiations – Solving a Giant Jigsaw Puzzle through Consensus

 3 Navigating Interests – Groups as the Unofficial Structure of unclos iii

 4 Entering the Conferences – The International Ocean Institute Gains Non-Governmental Organisation Status

 5 A Piece for the Ocean Puzzle – How to Design an International Machinery to Govern the Ocean Floor?

 6 Malta’s Failed Attempt to Regain Importance

 7 Final Fall-Out with Malta over the International Seabed Authority

8A Strong International Machinery for the Seabed Outside National Jurisdiction?
 1 Non-Governmental Organisations Struggle at the Convention

 2 Moving over to the Austrian Delegation

 3 How to Exploit the Seabed?

 4 Preparing for the Sixth Session in 1977

 5 Reviving a Corpse? – Attempts to Reintroduce Rejected Concepts

 6 Secret Changes to the Draft Treaty in Favour of the Developing Countries

 7 New Strategies and Alliances for Landlocked and Geographically Disadvantaged States

 8 Austria Loses Faith – An Era of Instability

9To Rescue What Is Left to Rescue
 1 A New Headquarters in Halifax

 2 Austria’s Report on Jens Evensen’s Intersessional Meeting – Visions Falling Apart

 3 Losing the President of the Law of the Sea Convention Causes a Crisis

 4 United States Retreat Stalls the Negotiations

 5 Elisabeth Mann Borgese’s appeal to act without the United States

 6 Why the Rush to Finalise the Convention in 1980?

 7 Moving on in Halifax – The Second International Ocean Institute

 8 Shedding Crocodile Tears? A Law of the Sea without the United States

part 4
Can the Common Heritage of Mankind Be Rescued? 1982–94
101994 Agreement and the Boat Paper Crisis
 1 The Life of the Convention after 1982

 2 The Boat Paper – A Betrayal of the Task?

 3 The Law of the Sea Kidnapped by Villains in 1994

 1 Elisabeth Mann Borgese as the ‘realist of tomorrow’

 2 The origins of Mann Borgese’s Internationalist Ideals

 3 Arvid Pardo and a Meeting of Ideals

 4 The Time Was Ripe – Political and Technological Development in the Mid-Twentieth Century

 5 Common Heritage or Common Property

 6 The Idea in Action though Institution-Building

 7 Elisabeth Mann Borgese’s Legacy

 8 Epilogue – The Future of Ocean Governance – What Is Next?

Archival Material



This book will be of interest to historians of international law, ideas, science, and governance, but also to legal scholars interested in international law and in the history of the Law of the Sea.
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