The Limits of the Natural State Doctrine: Rocks, Islands and Artificial Intervention in a Changing World
Author(s): Imogen Saunders
The natural state doctrine suggests that under UNCLOS, maritime features must be assessed in their ‘natural state’, before any artificial intervention. While this has been applied in the context of artificial island building, it could also apply to cases of artificial augmentation of features (such as, for example, desalination activities). This article examines the appropriateness of this doctrine in the context of islands, arguing an expansive application of the doctrine is both textually unsupported and practically infeasible in light of changes brought by climate change.
Research theme: Environmental Law