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Should the United States Ratify the Law of the Sea Treaty?

More than 140 nations have ratified the Law of the Sea treaty, which entered into force in 1994. The treaty governs use of the world’s oceans and addresses issues including navigation, use of airspace, exploitation of ocean resources, and protection of the marine environment.

On February 25, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously recommended that the U.S. Senate ratify the treaty. The Bush administration has expressed its support for ratification. Recently some critics have voiced concerns about the impact of the treaty on U.S. sovereignty.

Brookings will convene a distinguished panel of experts with a range of backgrounds to discuss whether the United States should ratify the treaty.



David B. Sandalow

Former Brookings Expert

Inaugural Fellow, Center on Global Energy Policy - School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University

Opening Remarks



David Balton

Deputy Assistant Secretary for Oceans and Fisheries, U.S. Department of State


Peter M. Leitner

Author, Former Observer to U.S. Law of the Sea Delegation (1977-82)

More Information

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