Law of the Sea Convention ushered a new chapter in conservation, management of marine resources: CARICOM

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Raymond Wolfe

The historic act of opening the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea for signature 30 years ago, ushered in a new chapter in the development of the law of the sea, as it

established a legal framework for the conservation, management, exploration and exploitation of the living and non-living marine resources within and beyond areas of national jurisdiction.

Jamaica's Ambassador Raymond Wolfe, speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community – CARICOM, says most significantly, it also codified the principle that the resources of the deep seabed beyond areas of national jurisdiction, is the common heritage of mankind, to be utilized for the benefit of the international community.

TAPE: Occasions such as the one for which we have gathered here today, provide a valuable opportunity to reflect on how far we have come and to renew our commitment to tackle the challenges that lie ahead, as we resolutely pursue the full and effective implementation of the Convention…. The United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea has proven to be the most successful multilateral treaty. Over the past 30 years, the Convention has been an inspiring example for effective multilateralism. It served as an important frame of reference for initiatives in global political and economic development, and for the advancement of international peace and security.

At the political level, international disputes have been settled; good neighbourliness has been forged; and international law of the sea has been enhanced, through the implementation of the relevant provisions of the Convention. On the economic front, the resources of the ocean, including its rich bio-diversity have contributed much to technological advancement; innovations in pharmaceuticals; scientific research and human and social well-being.

NAR: According to Ambassador Wolfe, the near universal adherence to the Convention attests to the high value placed on the regime it defines. He says CARICOM Members States note with satisfaction the steady increase over the years, in the number of State Parties to the Convention and both implementing Agreements.

TAPE: The Convention’s success over the past 30 years can also be attributed to the effective and seamless operation of the three institutions it has established by the Convention, namely the International Seabed Authority, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea and the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf. These bodies provide for the comprehensive handling of the law of the sea issues in a complementary way within their respective areas of competence, thus avoiding duplication and ensuring cost-effectiveness. There has been a remarkable increase in the number of cases being brought to International Tribunal for the Law of Sea which is a testament to the quality of its judgment and advisory opinions. Likewise, the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf has been carefully reviewing a large number of submissions and has provided a number of recommendations to States Parties seeking to establish the outer limits of their continental shelves.

NAR: Ambassador Wolfe says that an outstanding provision of the Convention which is as vital and relevant today as it was 30 years ago is “the study, protection and preservation of the marine environment.” He says for CARICOM Member States, the protection and preservation of the marine environment, including areas beyond national jurisdiction, remains an issue of fundamental importance towards the sustainable development of our economies.

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 3’29″

Filed under Caribbean News.
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