United Nations

A/RES/51/34


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

17 January 1997

ORIGINAL:
ENGLISH



Fifty-first session
Agenda item 24 (a)


                  RESOLUTION ADOPTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY

         [without reference to a Main Committee (A/51/L.21 and Add.1)]


            51/34.   Law of the sea


      The General Assembly,

      Emphasizing the universal character of the United Nations
Convention on the Law of the Sea 1/ and its fundamental importance
for the maintenance and strengthening of international peace and
security, as well as for the sustainable use and development of the
seas and oceans and their resources,

      Considering that, in its resolution 2749 (XXV) of 17 December
1970, it proclaimed that the seabed and ocean floor, and the subsoil
thereof, beyond the limits of national jurisdiction ("the Area"), as
well as the resources of the Area, are the common heritage of mankind,
and considering also that the Convention, together with the Agreement
relating to the implementation of Part XI of the United Nations
Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 2/ ("the
Agreement"), provides the regime to be applied to the Area and its
resources,

      Noting the entry into force of the Agreement on 28 July 1996,

      Noting with satisfaction the increase in the number of States
parties to the Convention,

      Recalling its resolution 49/28 of 6 December 1994 on the law of
the sea, adopted consequent to the entry into force of the Convention
on 16 November 1994,

      Aware of the importance of the effective implementation of the
Convention and its uniform and consistent application, as well as of
the growing need to promote and facilitate international cooperation
on the law of the sea and ocean affairs at the global, regional and
subregional levels,

      Recognizing the impact on States of the entry into force of the
Convention and the increasing need, particularly of developing States,
for advice and assistance in its implementation in order to benefit
thereunder,

      Welcoming the establishment of the International Tribunal for the
Law of the Sea 3/ ("the Tribunal"), the Council of the International
Seabed Authority, its Legal and Technical Commission and Finance
Committee, and the election of their respective members as well as the
election of the Secretary-General of the International Seabed
Authority 4/ ("the Authority"),

      Noting the decisions taken by States parties to the Convention
facilitating the organization of the Tribunal 5/ and those by the
Assembly 6/ and the Council 7/ of the Authority facilitating the
organization of the Authority,

      Noting also the decisions taken by States parties to the
Convention to elect the members of the Commission on the Limits of the
Continental Shelf in March 1997, 8/

      Recalling article 287 of the Convention regarding the choice of
means for the settlement of disputes concerning the interpretation or
application of the Convention,

      Recalling also that the Agreement provides that the institutions
established by the Convention shall be cost-effective, 9/ and
recalling further that the Meeting of States Parties to the Convention
decided that this principle would apply to all aspects of the work of
the Tribunal, 10/

      Emphasizing the importance of making adequate provisions for the
efficient functioning of the institutions established by the
Convention,

      Reiterating its appreciation to the Secretary-General for his
efforts in support of the Convention and in the effective
implementation of the Convention, including providing assistance in
the establishment of the institutions created by the Convention,

      Noting the responsibilities of the Secretary-General and
competent international organizations under the Convention, in
particular pursuant to its entry into force and as required by
resolution 49/28,

      Noting with appreciation the development, as part of the
Organization's home page on the Internet, of the Web sites of the
Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea of the Office of
Legal Affairs of the Secretariat (Gopher/World Wide Web), which
provide users with convenient means for obtaining timely, well-
organized and cross-referenced materials and information dealing with
various aspects of the oceans, marine affairs and the law of the sea,

      Conscious that the problems of ocean space are closely
interrelated and need to be considered as a whole,

      Conscious also of the strategic importance of the Convention as a
framework for national, regional and global action in the marine
sector, as recognized also by the United Nations Conference on
Environment and Development in chapter 17 of Agenda 21, 11/

      Noting the recommendation of the Commission on Sustainable
Development, 12/ endorsed by the Economic and Social Council,
13/ concerning international cooperation and coordination in the
implementation of chapter 17 of Agenda 21,

      Noting also the Washington Declaration and the Global Programme
of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based
Activities, 14/

      Conscious of the need to promote and facilitate international
cooperation, especially at the subregional and regional levels, in
order to ensure the orderly and sustainable development of the uses
and resources of the seas and oceans,

      Reaffirming the importance of the annual consideration and review
by the General Assembly of the overall developments pertaining to the
implementation of the Convention, as well as of other developments
relating to the law of the sea and ocean affairs,

      1.    Calls upon all States that have not done so to become
parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea1 and to
ratify, confirm formally or accede to the Agreement relating to the
implementation of Part XI of the United Nations Convention on the Law
of the Sea of 10 December 19822 in order to achieve the goal of
universal participation;

      2.    Calls upon States to harmonize their national legislation
with the provisions of the Convention, to ensure the consistent
application of those provisions and to ensure also that any
declarations or statements that they have made or make when signing,
ratifying or acceding are in conformity with the Convention;

      3.    Reaffirms the unified character of the Convention;

      4.    Recalls its decision to fund the budget for the
administrative expenses of the International Seabed Authority
initially from the regular budget of the United Nations, in accordance
with the provisions of the Agreement; 15/

      5.    Approves the provision by the Secretary-General of such
services as may be required for the two meetings of the Authority to
be held in 1997, from 17 to 28 March and from 18 to 29 August;

      6.    Requests the Secretary-General to convene the Meetings of
States Parties to the Convention from 10 to 14 March and from 19 to
23 May 1997;

      7.    Notes with appreciation the progress made in the
establishment of   the institutions created by the Convention,
requests the Secretary-General to continue to provide assistance to
those institutions, and invites the Secretary-General to take steps to
conclude relationship agreements between the United Nations and the
Authority, and between the United Nations and the Tribunal, to be
applied provisionally pending the approval of the General Assembly and
as appropriate by the Assembly of the Authority or the States parties
to the Convention;

      8.    Encourages States parties to the Convention to consider
making a written declaration choosing from the means set out in
article 287 of the Convention for the settlement of disputes
concerning the interpretation or application of the Convention;

      9.    Expresses its appreciation to the Secretary-General for the
annual comprehensive report on the law of the sea 16/ and the
activities of the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea of
the Office of Legal Affairs of the Secretariat, in accordance with the
provisions of the Convention and the mandate set forth in resolution
49/28;

      10.   Reaffirms the importance of ensuring the uniform and
consistent application of the Convention and a coordinated approach to
its overall implementation, and of strengthening technical cooperation
and financial assistance for this purpose, stresses once again the
continuing importance of the efforts of the Secretary-General to these
ends, and reiterates its invitation to the competent international
organizations and other international bodies to support these
objectives;

      11.   Requests the Secretary-General to ensure that the
institutional capacity of the Organization adequately responds to the
needs of States, the newly established institutions and other
competent international organizations by providing advice and
assistance, taking into account the special needs of developing
countries;

      12.   Invites Member States and others in a position to do so to
contribute to the further development of the fellowship programme on
the law of the sea and training and educational activities on the law
of the sea and ocean affairs established by the General Assembly in
its resolution 35/116 of 10 December 1980, as well as advisory
services and assistance in support of effective implementation of the
Convention;

      13.   Requests the Secretary-General to continue his efforts to
further strengthen the existing system for the collection, compilation
and dissemination of information on the law of the sea and related
matters and to further develop, in cooperation with relevant
international organizations, a centralized system for providing
coordinated information and advice;

      14.   Reaffirms its decision to undertake an annual review and
evaluation of the implementation of the Convention and other
developments relating to ocean affairs and the law of the sea;

      15.   Reiterates its request to the Secretary-General to prepare a
comprehensive report on the impact of the entry into force of the
Convention on related existing and proposed instruments and programmes
throughout the United Nations system, for submission to the Assembly
at its fifty-second session, and calls upon competent international
organizations and other international bodies to cooperate in the
preparation of the report; 

      16.   Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Assembly at
its fifty-second session on the implementation of the present
resolution, including other developments and issues relating to ocean
affairs and the law of the sea, in connection with his annual
comprehensive report on oceans and the law of the sea;

      17.   Decides to include in the provisional agenda of its
fifty-second session an item entitled "Oceans and the law of the sea".


                                                          77th plenary meeting
                                                               9 December 1996


                                     Notes

1/    Official Records of the Third United Nations Conference on the
Law of the Sea, vol. XVII (United Nations publication, Sales No.
E.84.V.3), A/CONF.62/122.

2/    Resolution 48/263, annex.
                                                                              
3/    See SPLOS/14, paras. 13-31.

4/    See ISBA/A/L.9, paras. 4-11 and 12-17; ISBA/A/L.13, para. 12; and
ISBA/C/L.3, para. 7.

5/    SPLOS/14, paras. 32-36.

6/    ISBA/A/14.

7/    ISBA/C/10 and 11.

8/    SPLOS/14, para. 41.

9/    See resolution 48/263, annex:  Annex to the Agreement, sect. 1,
para. 2.

10/   SPLOS/4, para. 25 (e).

11/   Report of the United Nations Conference on Environment and
Development, Rio de Janeiro, 3-14 June 1992 (A/CONF.151/26/Rev.1 (Vol.
I and Vol. I/Corr.1, Vol. II, Vol. III and Vol. III/Corr.1)) (United
Nations publication, Sales No. E.93.I.8 and corrigenda), vol. I: 
Resolutions Adopted by the Conference, resolution 1, annex II.

12/   See Official Records of the Economic and Social Council, 1996,
Supplement No. 8 (E/1996/28), chap. I, sect. A, para. 1.

13/   See A/51/3 (Part II), chap. V, sect. B.1, para. 119, resolution
1996/1;    see Official Records of the General Assembly, Fifty-first
Session, Supplement No. 3 .

14/   A/51/116, annex I, appendix II, and annex II.

15/   See resolution 48/263, para. 8; and ibid., annex:  Annex to the
Agreement, sect. 1, para. 14.

16/   A/51/645.

 

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