International Law Section Policy

Below is a list of international policies adopted by the ABA House of Delegates. Please be advised that members must follow the policy procedure and usage guidelines outlined in the American Bar Association’s Constitution and Bylaws, Rules of Procedure of the House of Delegates. The specific procedures are available on the policy homepage.


Marine Ecosystems . Urges the United States Government to continue and enhance efforts to play a leadership role in the development and implementation of international initiatives to protect the world's marine ecosystems and ensure the ecologically sustainable use and development of the world's marine resources, emphasizing good stewardship, ecosystem-based management, preservation of biodiversity, use of best available science, and international responsibility, including by measures set forth in the recommendation. 8/05

Sustainable Development . Reaffirms its 1991 commitment to sustainable development, and adopts the internationally accepted concept of sustainable development, as recognized at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in 1992 and subsequent international conferences: simultaneous achievement of environmental protection, economic development, social development, and peace, for present and future generations. Urges the U.S. government to meet the targets and timetables for sustainable development that are contained in the Plan of Implementation adopted at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa, in September 2002, that are applicable to the United States and to which the United States agreed. 8/03

Rotterdam Convention on the International Trade in Chemicals . Support prompt ratification and implementation by the U.S. of the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade. (02M113A) 2/02

Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants . Support prompt ratification and implementation by the U.S. of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants. (02M113B) 2/02

Law of the Sea Convention . Recommend that the U.S. become a party to the 1982 U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea and to the1994 Agreement Relating to the Implementation of Part XI of the Convention. 8/94
Letter to Senator Joseph Biden regarding the convention. 9/07

Law of the Sea Convention . Recommend that (1) the U.S. become a party to the 1982 U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea provided that appropriate changes are made to Part XI; (2) a special high-level working group within the U.S. government be established to analyze those changes. 2/90

Montreal Protocol on Ozone Layer. Recommend that the U.S. government ratify the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer. 2/88

Law of the Sea Convention . Support: (1) deep seabed mining as a freedom of the high seas; (2) important navigation provisions that reflect international custom; (3) bilateral and multilateral efforts to encourage deep seabed mining, etc. Urge that the Convention's substantive provisions not related to deep seabed mining are binding on all states, and support U.S. acceptance of the Convention's dispute resolution regime for these provisions. 8/83

Arctic and Antarctic Region. (1) Reject application of the "sector principle" in the Arctic region as inconsistent with the general provisions of international law which are applicable and; (2) endorse U.S. efforts regarding the management of living and mineral resources of Antarctica. 8/80

Law of the Sea Convention . Endorse the longstanding policy of the U.S. government that any future comprehensive Law of the Sea Treaty must provide assured access for the U.S. and its citizens to the resources of the seabed and subsoil beyond the limits of national jurisdiction. Endorse efforts directed toward the enactment of interim domestic legislation to promote the orderly development of mineral resources in the seabed on the bases of the freedom of the high seas. 2/80

Settlement of Legal Disputes Between the U.S. and Canada. Urge the U.S. government’s consideration of two draft treaties on trans-frontier pollution and third‑party settlement of disputes contained in a report of the American and Canadian Bar Associations' joint Working Group on the Settlement of International Disputes as possible bases for negotiation with the Canadian government. 8/79

Law of the Sea Convention . Hold that within the area of exclusive sovereign rights adjacent to the U.S., the interests of the U.S. in the natural resources of the submarine areas be protected to the full extent permitted by the 1958 Convention on the Continental Shelf. Recommend that the U.S. insist that any international regime established with respect to the areas seaward of the limits of national jurisdiction incorporate economic importance and only administrative and regulatory international authority. Broad provisions for marine conservation. 8/73

U.N. Environmental Fund. Support U.S. House of Representatives bill, or similar legislation, authorizing $40 million over 5 years pledged to the U.N. Environment Fund. 8/73