U.S. seat on ISA board won't necessarily prevent article 82 revenue from going to our adversaries and dictatorships
[ Page 12 ]
Some UNCLOS proponents maintain that the United States, if it joined the convention, would have a “veto” over such decisions because the U.S. would hold a permanent seat on the 36-member Council, which is the executive organ of the Authority.54 In fact, UNCLOS empowers the Council only to make recommendations to the Assembly on the disposition of Article 82 revenue, which the Assembly may approve or disapprove.55 Any Council recommendation that is disapproved by the Assembly is returned to the Council “for reconsideration in the light of the views expressed by the Assembly.”56 Therefore, in function and form, the Assembly makes final determinations regarding the disposition of Article 82 revenue.
Thus, it is unlikely that the United States would be able to prevent the Authority from distributing Article 82 revenue to Cuba and Sudan, UNCLOS members that the U.S. State Department has designated as state sponsors of terrorism.57 It would also be difficult for the United States to block the Authority from sending funds to the undemocratic, despotic, and/or brutal regimes in Belarus, Burma, China, Somalia, and Zimbabwe.58 Finally, the United States would have limited ability to stop the transfer of Article 82 revenue to corrupt regimes, especially given that 13 of the 20 most corrupt nations in the world are UNCLOS members.59
By virtue of its seat on the Council, the United States might be able to hinder decisions to distribute Article 82 revenue for purposes to which it objects. Whether the United States would be steadfast in its objections to such distributions and whether the Assembly would make any such distributions without the consent of the Council are open questions.