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The year 1997 marks the 30th anniversary of the advent of the concept of common heritage of mankind in the domain of public interntional law. Since its emergence there has been controversey, confrontation and speculation on the subject. This is because it is a philosophical idea that questions the regimes of globally important resources regardless of their situation, and requires major changes in the world to apply its provisions.
This work is a critical re-examination of established principles and doctrines of classical law, sovereignty, equality, resource allocation and international personality. It aims to explore the legal theory and implication of the concept of the common heritage of mankind, addressing nearly all aspects of the concept in the light of experience of three decades.
The author takes into account the elements of the common heritage concept in the field of jurisprudence, outer space law, the law of the sea, the law of Antarctica, international environmental law, human rights and general principles of public international law. It tries to develop a normative framework through which the concept may offer alternatives for the governance of the global commons.