International Law Studies


It seems clear that the impacts of sea level rise were not contemplated by the drafters of the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention during UNCLOS III. Legal scholars began to identify these issues in the early 1990s but the establishment and work of the International Law Association (ILA) Committee on International Law and Sea Level Rise has drawn increased attention to the importance of this issue that is now being considered by a Study Group of the International Law Commission. This article traces the remarkable and swift evolution over the last decade of State practice on the interpretation of the relevant provisions of the Convention in relation to the impacts of sea level rise on baselines and limits of maritime zones. This rapid evolution in State practice provides an interesting case study of the ability of the Convention, now at forty, to adapt to new situations and challenges.