NBC | GA4 | USA presents the 1.1 Plan to solve the international dispute on ocean borders

October 15th, 2019 | In the “General Assembly 4” committee, the debate to solve ocean border security was well on its way. This discussion was parked on the current issues faced with the previous UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. Countries were required, in the past, to use the territory of coastal waters immediately in their vicinity. However, the United States hopes to overstep its boundaries and expand its ocean territories to engulf the continental shelf. Eventually countries would follow in the ways of the United States and also extend their ocean territories, resulting in an international clash of who-owned-what.

Seeing that the United States was the one to initially ignite the discussion on international ocean borders, it was also the one to present a plan to amend the standards established by UNCLOS to fit the 21st century needs of the international community. The plan presented by the United States was title the “1.1 Plan” and its leading asset was its push for “shared economic zones” (SEZs) and a movement away from the exclusive economic zones (EEZs) previously established by UNCLOS. By creating shared economic zones, countries would not have to worry about running low on resources and could collectively aid each other in building up their own economies.

The “1.1 Plan” additionally requests for the adoption of the “Economic Cost Officiation” (ECO) Program which would define what information would be necessary on creating proper shared economic zones. The viable information would be based on military, economic, and the political uses of the ocean territories, rather than environmental regulation or resource restrictions. 

Other than detailing the creation of shared economic zones and the ECO program, the “1.1 Plan” also mentioned what would happen with the refugees found in international waters. According to the plan the refugees would have an allotted time period based on factors of distance, environment, and political surroundings to reach a safe location while overseas. Additionally, the “1.1 Plan” pushed member states to accept migrants that are found outside the usual migrant harbors, this way not just one country faces an extreme amount of pressure to accept all the migrants in its vicinity.

While the “1.1 Plan” presented many amendments to UNCLOS, there were still countries, such as Venezuela who did not agree with the points of action detailed in the plan. Venezuela described how the “1.1 Plan” was unfairly biased towards developed nations and would further the internal chaos ensuing in many developing nations around the globe that are not economically stable. Australia also voiced concerns about the “1.1 Plan” saying that it would not protect coral reefs and ecosystems found in the ocean territories if they were shared. “If countries had shared economic zones as detailed in the plan, what/who would stop one country from harming the environment of the territory to earn economic gain?”, Australia states. The concerns of developing nations and the environment were up in the air in the “1.1 Plan” and further amending may need to be required to satisfy all the international countries.