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Oceans and the law of the sea: joint debate

Background

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea entered into force on 16 November 1994, one year after the deposit of the sixtieth instrument of ratification or accession. As at 3 April 2007, 152 States and 1 entity, the European Community, had expressed their consent to be bound by the Convention.

The Agreement relating to the implementation of Part XI of the Convention was adopted on 28 July 1994 (see resolution 48/263) and entered into force on 28 July 1996. The Agreement is to be interpreted and applied together with the Convention as a single instrument. As at 3 April 2007, 126 States and 1 entity, the European Community, had expressed their consent to be bound by the Agreement.

In addition, as at 3 April 2007, 65 States and 1 entity had expressed their consent to be bound by the 1995 Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks. The Agreement entered into force on 11 December 2001.

Since 1984 the General Assembly has considered developments pertaining to the Convention as well as those relating to ocean affairs and the law of the sea, initially under the item entitled "Law of the sea" (resolutions 39/73, 40/63, 41/34, 42/20, 43/18, 44/26, 45/145, 46/78, 47/65, 48/28, 49/28, 50/23 and 51/34) and then under the item entitled "Oceans and the law of the sea" (resolutions 52/26, 53/32, 54/31, 54/33, 55/7, 56/12, 57/141, 58/240, 59/24, 60/30 and 61/222). The Assembly has also considered a number of fisheries-related issues initially under the item entitled "Law of the sea" (resolutions 46/215, 49/116, 49/118, 50/24, 50/25, 51/35 and 51/36) and then under the item "Oceans and the law of the sea" (resolutions 52/28, 52/29, 53/33, 54/32, 55/8, 56/13, 57/142, 57/143, 58/14, 59/25, 60/31 and 61/105).

(a) Oceans and the law of the sea

At its forty-ninth session, in 1994, the General Assembly decided to undertake an annual review and evaluation of the implementation of the Convention on the Law of the Sea and other relevant developments; and requested the Secretary-General to report annually to the Assembly as from its fiftieth session (resolution 49/28).

At its fifty-fourth session, the General Assembly decided to establish an open-ended informal consultative process in order to facilitate the annual review by the General Assembly of developments in ocean affairs (resolution 54/33).

At its sixty-first session, the General Assembly requested the Secretary-General to report on certain issues relating to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction, in the context of his report on oceans and the law of the sea to the Assembly at its sixty-second session; called upon States to harmonize their national legislation with the provisions of the Convention; requested the Secretary-General, in cooperation with States and relevant international organizations and institutions, to continue making training courses available on the delineation of the outer limits of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles and on the preparation of submissions to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf; urged the Secretary-General to continue to take all necessary actions to ensure that the Commission could fulfil its functions, in the light of the anticipated heavy workload of the Commission; requested the Secretary-General to convene a meeting in 2008 of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Informal Working Group to study issues relating to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction; also requested the Secretary-General to convene the seventeenth Meeting of States Parties to the Convention in New York on 14 June and from 18 to 22 June 2007, and the eighth meeting of the United Nations Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea in New York from 25 to 29 June 2007, and to prepare a comprehensive report for the sixty-second session of the General Assembly on developments and issues relating to ocean affairs and the law of the sea, including the implementation of the resolution (resolution 61/222, sects. I to III, VII to X, XIV and XVII).

Documents
References for the sixty-first session (agenda item 71 (a))

(b) Sustainable fisheries, including through the 1995 Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks, and related instruments

At its sixty-first session, the General Assembly requested the Secretary-General: to convene in 2007 a sixth round of informal consultations of States parties to the 1995 Agreement to consider implementation of the Agreement, as well as initial preparatory steps for the resumption of the Review Conference; and to submit to the Assembly at its sixty-second session a report on sustainable fisheries, including through the Agreement, and related instruments (resolution 61/105, sects. II and XIII).

Document
References for the sixty-first session (agenda item 71 (b))

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