Statehood under Water

marzo 7, 2017

Statehood under Water es el título del libro de Alejandra Torres Camprubí, publicado hace unos meses por la editorial Brill. En una entrada anterior prometí compartir el prólogo que escribí para el libro. Aquí está, a modo de invitación a su lectura.


Statehood under Water is the title of Alejandra Torres’ book, published just a few months ago by Brill publishers. In a previous post, I promised to share this page, written as a prologue for the book:

The compelling title of this book reminds me of the story once told by David Foster Wallace about those two young fishes greeted by an older fish with a “Morning, boys, how’s the water?” The young fishes continued swimming and, after a while, one of them asked, “What the hell is water?” The question urges us to reflect on how we think about things omnipresent, to pay attention to the elements and conditions of our very existence that are taken for granted most of the time and therefore somehow invisible, as it happens with the absence of camels in the Arabian Nights, as reported wittily by Jorge Luis Borges.

The allegory chosen by Alejandra Torres Camprubí belongs to such kind of endeavour: ‘Statehood under water’ is not just another international law interpretation of the sinking island image; the author’s sophisticated research defies the ways in which we think about the Statehood in the anthropocene –a powerful word that has encountered her at a late stage of her passionate intellectual voyage to provide a new persuasive contextual meaning to the whole argument. Indeed, her study of the effects of climate change and sea-level rise on the continuity of Pacific Island States reaches beyond the mere rigorous analysis of the crucial challenges facing these particular islands. The book certainly achieves such goal, most significant for the Pacific Island States, but also offers a mature and complex revision of the exclusionary Westphalian theory of statehood and its elements, which I predict will frame quite a few discussions on possible new forms of legal personality in international law, including entities with provocative names such as ‘water states’.

With this timely book, Alejandra Torres Camprubí joins the many contemporary scholarly debates on the concerns about the adequacy of international law to face the challenges of the anthropocene. Her careful analysis of different scenarios of partial and total de-territorialization and de-population, together with the concept of governments in exile are exemplary, but do not lead the author to an incautious conclusion. On the contrary, Alejandra Torres Camprubí avoids categorical answers about the continuity of the Pacific Island States, and therefore gives proper consideration and space to the normative evolution of the ‘sinking island paradigm’ and the future legal scenarios of the international law of the anthropocene.

I have been fortunate to witness the birth and progress of this book, which is based on the doctoral thesis that Alejandra Torres Camprubí successfully defended at the University Autónoma of Madrid in 2014. Now, I am impressed by the balanced structure of the book, its refined analyses and learned discussions; most importantly, I am pleased to know that everyone will have the chance to learn from this book and enjoy this momentous scholarly contribution to some fundamental questions of international law.


Permítanme que comparta la noticia de la publicación de este libro que he coeditado junto con el maestro Harry Scheiber y los colegas James Kraska y Moon-Sang Kwon. 20 Years under UNCLOS es el fruto de una magnífica e inolvidable conferencia que tuve el honor de organizar del 18 al 21 de septiembre de 2014 en Madrid, junto al Law of the Sea Institute (LOSI) de la Universidad de California, Berkeley, y el Korea Institute for Ocean Science and Technology (KIOST). El anuncio del libro se presenta con estas palabras:

In the years since 1994, when the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) entered into force, the ocean law regime has been profoundly affected by an interplay of new forces in global ocean affairs. Numbered among them are innovations in technology and science, the emergence of intensified piracy and other challenges to maritime security, national, and regional programs. In Ocean Law and Policy: Twenty Years of Development under the UNCLOS Regime, experts from fourteen countries present nineteen papers that provide insightful analyses of these wide-ranging issues that form the emerging new context of UNCLOS as a keystone to a working regime system. Accessible as well as authoritative, this volume offers to general readers as well as academics, policy officials, and legal experts a set of important analyses and provocative insights, forming a major contribution to the literature of ocean studies.

Espero que pueda ser útil a muchos de ustedes (a pesar de su precio).

Hoy se ha publicado la sentencia del Tribunal Arbitral constituido sobre la base del Anexo VII de la Convención de Naciones Unidas sobre el Derecho del Mar en el caso de la República de Filipinas contra la República Popular de China (PCA Case Nº 2013-19). El Tribunal Arbitral afirma su jurisdicción negando que la ausencia de China en los procedimientos prive al Tribunal de competencia, dice que no ha habido abuso de procedimiento por parte de Filipinas y niega la existencia de un ‘tercero indispensable’ (cf. sentencia de la CIJ en el caso Timor oriental, 1995). El párrafo dispositivo completo se puede leer a continuación:


413. For the above reasons, the Tribunal unanimously:

A. FINDS that the Tribunal was properly constituted in accordance with Annex VII to the Convention.

B. FINDS that China’s non-appearance in these proceedings does not deprive the Tribunal of jurisdiction.

C. FINDS that the Philippines’ act of initiating this arbitration did not constitute an abuse of process.

D. FINDS that there is no indispensable third party whose absence deprives the Tribunal of jurisdiction.

E. FINDS that the 2002 China–ASEAN Declaration on Conduct of the Parties in the South China Sea, the joint statements of the Parties referred to in paragraphs 231 to 232 of this Award, the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, and the Convention on Biological Diversity, do not preclude, under Articles 281 or 282 of the Convention, recourse to the compulsory dispute settlement procedures available under Section 2 of Part XV of the Convention.

F. FINDS that the Parties have exchanged views as required by Article 283 of the Convention.

G. FINDS that the Tribunal has jurisdiction to consider the Philippines’ Submissions No. 3, 4, 6, 7, 10, 11, and 13, subject to the conditions noted in paragraphs 400, 401, 403, 404, 407, 408, and 410 of this Award.

H. FINDS that a determination of whether the Tribunal has jurisdiction to consider the Philippines’ Submissions No. 1, 2, 5, 8, 9, 12, and 14 would involve consideration of issues that do not possess an exclusively preliminary character, and accordingly RESERVES consideration of its jurisdiction to rule on Submissions No. 1, 2, 5, 8, 9, 12, and 14 to the merits phase.

I. DIRECTS the Philippines to clarify the content and narrow the scope of its Submission 15 and RESERVES consideration of its jurisdiction over Submission No. 15 to the merits phase.

J. RESERVES for further consideration and directions all issues not decided in this Award.

El Tribunal Internacional para el Derecho del Mar busca cubrir un puesto de «Legal Officer», de categoría P-3 en la nomenclatura de las Naciones Unidas, es decir, con un mínimo de 5 años de experiencia. Hay tiempo hasta el 11 de julio de 2014 para presentar solicitudes. Aquí está la información. ¡Suerte!

En octubre de 2010 presenté esta ponencia en una excelente conferencia que organizaron Harry Scheiber y Jin-Huyn Paik y el Institute for the Law of Sea en la sede del Tribunal Internacional para el Derecho del Mar. Pronto saldrá publicada, con los pocos cambios que hice a principios de 2011, en Harry N. Scheiber and Jin-Hyun Paik (eds.), Regions, Institutions and Law of the Sea (2013). Aquí les dejo el vínculo de SSRN donde pueden descargar el texto de marzo de 2011, al menos hasta que el libro esté en las librerías. Este es el abstract:

Following an introduction to the advisory jurisdiction of the Tribunal, this chapter discusses crucial aspects of the advisory function of the Seabed Disputes Chamber. It will of course consider the jurisdiction to give an advisory opinion and the issues of admissibility related to the opinion delivered by the Seabed Disputes Chamber on the Responsibilities and obligations of States sponsoring persons and entities with respect to activities in the International Seabed Area. The discussion, however, will not touch upon the substantive legal questions asked to the Chamber in this occasion, but deal only with procedural issues. Moreover, it will attempt to go beyond this specific case to present a general analysis of the key issues of jurisdiction and admissibility, together with some questions of procedure, that should be taken into account in order to arrive to an authoritative advisory opinion of the Seabed Disputes Chamber and, eventually, of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.

Uno de los problemas clave del derecho del mar es la sobre explotación de las especies marinas. Los datos de la FAO son preocupantes, pero la industria difícilmente cambiará si no hay nuevas y mejores regulaciones o si los consumidores no toman conciencia de las consecuencias que tiene elegir uno u otro tipo de pescado. Pero eso es difícil elegir las mejores opciones o evitar los pescados inconvenientes. O quizá ya no lo es tanto. Les presento Seafood Watch, un app para iphone o android desarrollado por el Monterrey Bay Aquarium (qué buenos recuerdos, cuando hace ya muchos años llevé a mi hijo Federico a visitar ese acuario maravilloso). El app, que se puede instalar en sus teléfonos de forma gratuita, permite saber cuáles son las mejores elecciones, las buenas alternativas y los pescados a evitar. También hay información para no perderse cuando uno elige sushi. Un app que ayuda a mejorar las limitaciones del derecho internacional y a cambiar el mundo desde abajo hacia arriba. Tiene el premio aquiescencia de 2012. Por eso he elegido Seafood Watch como mi regalo para los lectores del blog en estas fiestas. Feliz Navidad y Año Nuevo.

El futuro del derecho del mar

diciembre 26, 2012

David Milliband, ex ministro de asuntos exteriores del Reino Unido, publicó hace un par de semanas una columna excelente en Project Syndicate sobre la próxima ola de regulación del derecho del mar. Cabe destacar la alta apreciación que tiene Milliband de la Convención de Naciones Unidas sobre el derecho del mar de 1982, y la crítica de falta de liderazgo de Estados Unidos en este ámbito:

UNCLOS is a symbol of global cooperation, compromise, and international law that was more than 20 years in the making. The failure of the US Senate to ratify it serves only to strengthen the case against America’s capacity for global leadership. But UNCLOS will need to evolve if it is to meet twenty-first-century challenges.

Es importante la relevancia que Milliband otorga al futuro de los océanos y la vida que albergan, a la próxima regulación del alta mar que, según él, debe llegar de la mano del ejemplo de los Estados y la obligación de crear modelos de cooperación que nos lleven a crear regímenes sostenibles de conservación marina.

Head of the Legal Office of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea! Un puesto magnífico para juristas con experiencia. Aquí está la información de la vacante. Hasta el 2 de enero de 2013.

Un puesto muy, muy bonito y relevante, para el que requiere mucha experiencia y especialización. La información aquí y el plazo para presentarse vence el 4 de diciembre.

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