San Diego Law Review


Patrick Childs

Library of Congress Authority File


Document Type



Approximately one fifth of the nations of the world are landlocked, having no direct access to the sea within the bounds of their territorial jurisdiction. These nations, throughout modern history, have sought to secure for themselves various rights that the coastal nations inherently have due to geographical location. The traditional demand of the inland countries has been that of unrestrained access to the sea, but now, with the significant strides that oceanic sciences have made in the last two decades, their demands have spread into other areas that once held little interest to inland countries. It has become apparent in recent years that the resources of the sea are going to play an ever-increasing part in the economic picture of the world. Where the sea was once looked upon as a source of animal and plant products, it will now be expected to supply a growing population with a variety of mineral and hydrocarbon resources as well. Although the feasibility of extracting specific minerals may be in doubt for the present, there seems to be little contention that in the near future, mineral excavation will proceed and the harvests will be quite substantial. The land-locked states have a great interest in the results of any massive harvest of ocean resources. Many of their interest are shared with coastal states; some are unique. While all mineral exporting nations may suffer from a price slump at the international market place, only the inland countries carry the burden of overland transportation costs. The flood of resources from the sea would be that much more severe on the inland states. Likewise, while most coastal nations could expect at least some return from the minerals of their shores, the inland countries would receive nothing. Because land-locked states suffer the same population problems that others do, a new interest in the sea as a source of protein has developed. Indeed, many land-locked nations have developed extensive markets within their borders for fish and fish products. This has fostered a desire by these countries to see that proper conservation techniques are adhered to so that their source is preserved and the product price remains minimal. These factors have led the inland countries to voice a greater concern as to the state of the world oceans. The demand for participation by these nations has been voiced in the General Assembly of the United Nations; and it is evidence, both by General Assembly resolutions reserving the sea bed for mankind and by resolutions aimed specifically at the interests of the inland states, that these demands have been heard. The year 1973 will offer the opportunity many of the inland states, along with other smaller and underdeveloped coastal states, have sought in order to express their demands and to make these assertions a part of the international law. In 1973, a United Nations conference on the law of the seas has been scheduled. It is also, very likely, the last year in which a uniform plan of regulation, embodying all of the varied interests that the under-developed nations have, can be drawn up and enacted before oceanic technology advances to such an extent that the authority these nations could have wielded will have been usurped. A comprehensive body of work resulting from this conference, including more than mere token recognition of the problems, would be more preferable than the patchwork and kaleidoscopic revisions which would surely be the result if the interests of the land-locked countries are not adequately expressed and adamantly contended. The impact resulting from the development of marine resources cannot be accurately measured at such an early date, yet some generalizations may be made and some obvious consequences pointed out with respect to the long-term effects.