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The lack of international conventional law governing the operational aspects of continental shelf activity may be characterized as unfinished business of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. The Convention, adopted in 1982, generally addressed the issue but did not consider more detailed development of the legal regime for the continental shelf. In The Regulation of Continental Shelf Development: Rethinking International Standards, leading experts from around the world identify and explore a multitude of unresolved legal concerns related to the continental shelf.
The current state of continental shelf activities is explored through the following lenses: