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Question

Which among the following are TRUE about the global commons?

a. The Earth’s atmosphere, Antarctica, ocean floor and outer space are considered as part of the global commons.
b. The global commons are outside sovereign jurisdiction.
c. The question of managing the global commons has reflected the North-South divide.
d. The countries of the North are more concerned about the protection of the Global Commons than the countries of the South.

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Solution

a. This statement is true.

The Global Commons refers to those areas or regions of the world that require common international governance and management. These areas have been referred to as the common heritage of mankind and include the global or world ocean which is governed by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea; the Earth’s atmosphere, which requires collective endeavour to deal with the problem of pollution affecting the global atmosphere; the polar regions including Antarctic and Arctic; the ocean floor and lastly the outer space, which is governed by the Outer Space Treaty.

b. This statement is true.

Explanation

The Global Commons refers to those areas or regions of the world that are outside the sovereign political jurisdiction of any country and require a common management by the international community at large. These areas are also referred to as the international global resource domains.

c. This statement is true.

Explanation

There are some differences involved in the management of Global Commons with regard to their scale and extent of usage by the nation states. It has brought into force conflicting opinions by the North, representing the industrialised world, and the South, representing the developing nations. We may give example of Earth’s atmosphere, which is largely affected by the industrial activities in the North.

d. This statement is false.

Explanation

It is not true that the countries in the North are more concerned about the protection of Global Commons; in fact, the developing countries in the South have acknowledged the problems affecting the Global Commons stating that they require common solutions and concerted international efforts. The countries in the South cannot play the role of opposition; therefore, they call for interaction and synthesis with the nations in the North in order to manage and protect the Global Commons. However, at the same time, it calls for a greater responsibility to be taken on the part of the Northern countries to protect the Global Commons.

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