Many aspiring seasteaders harbor dreams of establishing new nations and gaining recognition from international bodies, particularly the United Nations (UN). This article aims to shed light on the criteria outlined in the Convention of Montevideo, the advantages and drawbacks of UN recognition, and practical steps to engage with the global organisation.
Understanding Statehood Criteria
The declarative theory of statehood, as codified in the Convention of Montevideo and accepted as customary international law, outlines the qualifications a state must possess:
- Permanent Population
- Defined Territory
- Capacity to Enter into Relations with Other States
A community with these qualifications theoretically meets the criteria for UN membership. However, the challenge lies in the practical application, particularly concerning the definition of territory in a floating structure. Representative offices worldwide may become necessary.
Unpacking the United Nations
The United Nations, established in 1945 after World War II, serves the purposes of maintaining international peace and security, fostering friendly relations among nations, promoting international cooperation, and acting as a center for harmonizing global actions. Notably, the UN is composed of 193 member states, ranging from the most populous nations to the smallest with only a few thousand inhabitants.
The five victorious nations of World War II—the USA, Russia, China, France, and the United Kingdom—hold veto power, allowing them to block resolutions in the plenary assembly or any commission. Despite financial contributions that vary by state, ranging from a minimum of $30,000 per year, each state holds an equal vote. While UN membership carries weight in international relations and facilitates diplomatic efforts, it also means adherence to UN decisions.
Pros and Cons of UN Membership
Becoming a UN member can provide a small state with diplomatic leverage and the ability to build friendly relationships through lobbying. However, the flip side involves compliance with UN decisions, which can be challenging for smaller entities. UN membership requires financial contributions, with a minimum threshold, and necessitates establishing an embassy in New York.
Engaging with the UN as Seasteaders
Seasteaders, akin to red fishes in a shark tank, face the task of creating viable communities, economies, and populations before uniting in a federation for representation in the UN. This approach allows for maintaining a desired level of independence while navigating the complex international arena.
The journey to UN recognition for seasteaders involves addressing specific criteria, understanding the dynamics of the UN, and carefully balancing the benefits and challenges of membership. As the global landscape evolves, the path to recognition may require strategic planning and collaboration among seasteaders to navigate the complexities of international diplomacy.
The author, Samuele Landi, brings a unique perspective to this discussion, having served as Consul General of the Republic of Liberia for four years under the mentorship of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs H.E. Milton Findley and H.E. Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah. Landi is currently a permanent seasteader on Aisland 1.