Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament Climate Change and Conflict Policy Brief No.113 - August, 2021
Protecting the Planet’s Commons:
Global Commons Law
A tapestry of rules and norms form an uncharacteristic branch of international law which could be called global commons law, comprised of principles and norms forged by a vast mosaic of actors in shared stewardship and with a commonality of interests. Global commons law helps to sustain the absence of conflict and promotes cooperation, and partly explains the prevalence of endeavours towards cooperation. This branch of international law is unique as it does not ascribe rights and duties to states but to individuals and humanity. The state is not only a user and beneficiary, but it is also a guardian, and therefore has duties and responsibilities to ensure the preservation of these domains in which legal (sovereign) ownership is absent but which are characterised by peace instead of military confrontation.