Int’l conference marks 40th anniversary of UNCLOS


An international conference was held in Hanoi on December 8 to mark 40 years since the adoption of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Fishing vessels of Quang Tri province (Photo: VNA)

The hybrid event, held by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was attended by 150 delegates from ministries, sectors, coastal localities, and representative bodies of ASEAN countries in Vietnam.

In his remarks, Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyễn Minh Vũ said having been ratified by 168 parties, UNCLOS has truly become a legal document of leading importance, only after the UN Charter, and a “constitution of the seas and oceans”.

The convention formed a comprehensive and full international legal framework that regulates the rights and obligations of all states, no matter whether it is coastal or landlocked, in the use of the seas and the management, exploitation, and conservation of marine resources, he noted.

UNCLOS is a comprehensive international legal cornerstone for identifying sea areas, sovereignty, sovereign right, and jurisdiction over sea areas, and for conducting activities at sea. It also stipulates compulsory dispute settlement mechanisms to peacefully resolve differences relevant to the interpretation and application of UNCLOS among countries, according to the official.

The conference held a panel session to highlight the special values of UNCLOS and another on Vietnam’s implementation of the convention.

In their remarks sent to the workshop, Tommy Koh, former President of the third UN Conference on the Law of the Sea, and Vladimir Jares, Director of the UN Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, stressed the importance of UNCLOS and Vietnam’s contributions to the UNCLOS drafting and implementation process.

Participants shared the view that over the past 40 years, UNCLOS has not only properly served as a constitution of the oceans but also contributed to the formation and protection of the international legal order of the seas and oceans, as well as to the maintenance of peace, security, stability, and international cooperation at sea.

They said that bordering the East Sea and being a member of UNCLOS, Vietnam has always been well aware of the role and importance of the seas to national peace, security, and development. They also affirmed the importance of respecting and fully and responsibly implementing regulations in UNCLOS, protecting the legal order of the seas and oceans, and promoting cooperation amid complex developments in the East Sea./.