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Study Notes

Sovereign State

Edexcel, IB

Last updated 22 Mar 2021

A sovereign state is defined as an area which has a permanent presence and population, clear territory and a government. A sovereign state is usually "recognised" as a sovereign state by other states.

Being a sovereign state means that there should be no interference in internal matters from an outside source/ agencies or authority. So, for example, if a country wanted to destroy its forests or some of its natural resources it should not be possible for another country/ organisation to demand that the action be stopped.

A sovereign state also has the right to enter into agreements with other sovereign states or organisations, for example international environmental agreements.

Typically, sovereign states are both de jure and de facto i.e. they exist both legally and in practice.

There are currently 195 undisputed sovereign states. One of the most recently declared sovereign states is South Sudan.

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