Obligations of ‘Due Regard’ in the Exclusive Economic Zone: Their Context, Purpose and State Practice

In: The International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law
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  • 1 Ambassador of Norway to France, Director General for Legal Affairs, Legal Adviser of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs 2002–2014

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The exclusive rights of the coastal state over the natural resources in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) coexist with the high seas freedoms of communication of other states. This particular coexistence of state competences is a distinguishing feature of the 200-mile zones. Articles 56(2) and 58(3) United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (LOSC) require that coastal states have ‘due regard’ to the rights, freedoms and duties of other states in the zone, and vice versa. It is suggested that the two provisions are not ‘dormant’. State practice indicates the contrary, as well as future paths for clarification. The obligation to have ‘due regard’ constitutes a linchpin in the conceptual underpinnings of the EEZ, and requires an interpretation of the concrete provisions that are applicable, in keeping with the Convention’s nature as a strategic ‘package deal’ with a particular bearing on international peace and security.