In economics, global commons include all the resources which are not owned exclusively by anyone. It is rather shared commonly by a community. These are areas that do not come under the purview of the sovereign dominion of any one state. Thus they require common governance by the international community. They are also known as res communis humanitatis. They include the earth’s atmosphere, Antarctica, the ocean floor, and the outer space.
According to international organisations, cooperative use and protection over the global commons are not easy, even though there have been many agreements monitoring the use of the commons. They include the 1959 Antarctic Treaty, the 1987 Montreal Protocol and the 1991 Antarctic-Environmental Protocol. The major problems governing the utilisation and protection of commons are:
• It is very difficult to achieve global consensus and a common opinion on the common environmental agendas framed at different times and under different circumstances.
• The management of the common areas is completely influenced by North-South inequalities, where the North has the upper hand over the South. This is most striking in case of outer space, atmosphere and ocean floor.
• The technological and industrial development is another concern for the equal treatment of the commons. It must be ensured that the benefits of exploitative activities must be enjoyed by the present as well as future generations.
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