Activities of the Legal Counsel of the
Fortieth Annual Conference of the Center for Oceans Law & Policy
Legal Order in the World’s Oceans: UN Convention on the Law of the Sea
27-28 June 2016
The Fortieth Annual Conference of the Center for Oceans Law and Policy of the School of Law, University of Virginia, focused on the topic "Legal Order in the World's Oceans: United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea". The Conference was organized by the Center for Oceans Law and Policy in Cooperation with the United Nations Office of Legal Affairs, Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, and was held from 27 to 28 June 2016, at United Nations Headquarters. Six panels were convened to address the following topics: Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea at the United Nations; the Area and the International Seabed Authority; the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea; the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf; Sustainable Fisheries, including the United Nations Fish Stock Agreement; and Operational Implementation: Maritime Compliance and Enforcement. A roundtable discussion, entitled “Vision for the Implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea”, was also held.
The Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and United Nations Legal Counsel participated as a panellist in the roundtable discussion and delivered closing remarks on 28 June. The Legal Counsel highlighted the role of the oceans as an essential foundation for human life and prosperity, and drew attention to the challenges arising from the impact of anthropogenic activities which affect the health, resilience and productivity of the oceans and marine ecosystems. In that regard, he emphasized that the importance of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea as the legal framework within which all activities in the oceans and seas must be carried out, and its contributions to the development and the sustainable use of ocean resources, the strengthening of peace, security, cooperation and friendly relations among all States, and the promotion of the economic and social advancement of all peoples of the world.
He underlined the need to close the gap between States that have the capacity and resources to enjoy their rights and fulfil their duties under the Convention and those that do not. Further, he noted that the development of capacity, both human and institutional, is critical to enable all States to fully implement the Convention and benefit from the oceans and their resources in a sustainable manner.
Additionally, he expressed the hope that the collective knowledge and expertise shared during the Conference by presenters, experts, high-level representatives of intergovernmental organizations and bodies, as well as internationally recognized academics, would provide all participants with inspiration for action towards the shared goals for ocean sustainability, prosperity and wellbeing.
Mr. John Moore, Director of the Center for Oceans Law and Policy of the University of Virginia, and Mr. Serpa Soares address the participants at a reception