SEABED AUTHORITY, INTERNATIONAL TRIBUNAL FOR LAW OF THE SEA CONSTITUTED IN 1996, GENERAL ASSEMBLY TOLD19961209 Establishment in 1997 of Commission on Limits of Continental Shelf Will Complete Process Envisioned by Law of Sea Convention
Two important ocean institutions had been constituted in 1996, with the International Seabed Authority establishing its principal organs and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea electing its 21 members, the General Assembly was told this morning, as it began its discussion on the Law of the Sea.
The establishment of nearly all the institutions foreseen by the Convention on the Law of the Sea was the year's most important development, the representative of Cameroon told the Assembly. The constitution of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, at the States parties meeting in March 1997, would complete the process.
Several delegations praised the comprehensiveness of the Secretary- General's report on the Law of the Sea. The representative of New Zealand, who introduced the three draft resolutions before the Assembly on the agenda item, noted that the report was the single means by which the international community reflected on all the issues facing the oceans today.
The Convention itself, the representative of Sri Lanka said, was indisputably one of the major achievements of the United Nations and had come to be regarded as a multilateral instrument of vast potential for the maintenance of peace, an equitable basis of sharing the resources of the world's oceans and a means for securing economic progress for all peoples of the earth.
The representatives of Ireland, speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated countries, and the United States both urged States parties that had submitted statements or declarations upon signing or ratifying the Convention on the Law of the Sea, to review them and withdraw those that were not in conformity with the Convention.
Statements were also made by the Marshall Islands, Ghana, Namibia, Indonesia, China, Mexico, Jamaica and the Republic of Korea.
The Assembly will meet again at 3 p.m. today to continue its discussion.
The General Assembly met this morning to take up its agenda item on the Law of the Sea. It had before it the report of the Secretary-General on the Law of the Sea, including the Convention and the implementing agreements, and two other reports relating to the conservation and management of straddling fish stocks and highly migratory fish stocks and to large-scale pelagic drift- net fishing (documents A/51/645, A/51/383 and A/51/404 respectively). It had three related draft resolutions.
On 18 December 1982, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea was opened for signature in Montego Bay, Jamaica, marking the culmination of over 14 years of work involving participation by more than 150 countries.
The Convention entered into force on 16 November 1994; according to the Secretary-General's report issued 1 November 1996 (document A/51/645) the total number of States parties is now 106. Since its entry into force, the international community has devoted its main attention to the establishment of the institutions created by the Convention. The new treaty system of ocean institutions consists of the International Seabed Authority, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf and the United Nations Secretariat. The United Nations General Assembly has a central, ongoing role to play in the implementation of the Convention as a whole, according to the report.
The provisions of the Convention on the Law of the Sea have been further developed in two implementing Agreements. The Agreement on Part XI of the Convention (on "the Area", which within that text means the sea-bed and ocean floor and subsoil thereof, beyond the limits of national jurisdiction) was successfully concluded in 1994 and it entered into force in 1996. The Agreement is to be interpreted and applied together with the Convention as a single instrument. In the event of any inconsistency between the Agreement and Part XI of the Convention, the provisions of the Agreement shall prevail.
Following the entry into force of the Agreement on 28 July 1996 -- after 40 States had established their consent to be bound -- States that were parties to the Convention prior to the adoption of the Agreement now have to establish their consent to be bound by the Agreement separately, by depositing an instrument of ratification or accession. As of 31 August 1996, 67 States had consented to be bound by the 1994 Agreement on Part XI.
The Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of the Convention Relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks, adopted in 1995, is a separate instrument of a different nature. It greatly elaborates upon the general provisions of the Convention relevant to those matters, but should be interpreted and applied in the context of and in a manner consistent with the Convention. The 1995 agreement on fish stocks was adopted on 5 August 1995 by the United Nations Conference on Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks. The period of signature will end on 4 December 1996. As of 31 August, the Agreement had received a total of 47 signatures. The Agreement will enter
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into force 30 days after the date of deposit of the thirtieth instrument of ratification or accession. As of 31 August, Saint Lucia, Tonga and the United States had ratified the Agreement.
According to the report, during the current period the International Seabed Authority established its principal organs -- the Assembly, the 36-member Council and the secretariat. The Authority, with its seat at Kingston, Jamaica, is the organization through which its members shall organize and conduct activities of exploration for, and exploitation of, the resources of the seabed and ocean floor and subsoil thereof, beyond the limits of national jurisdiction (the Area), particularly with a view to administering the mineral resources.
Also, states the report, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea has now been constituted with the election of its 21 members. The election of judges took place on 1 August during the fifth meeting of States parties. The judges held their first, executive session from 1 to 30 October 1996, and were sworn in on 18 October at an inaugural session of the tribunal at its seat at Hamburg, Germany.
The report states that the fourth and fifth meetings of the States parties to the Convention were held in New York from 4 to 8 March and from 24 July to 2 August, respectively. The sixth and seventh meetings of States parties will be held in New York from 10 to 14 March and from 19 to 23 May 1997, respectively. The sixth meeting will be devoted primarily to the election of the 21 members of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, and the seventh to the budget of the International Tribunal.
The report also deals with: actions taken by States, including their position on maritime limits, deposit of charts and lists of geographical coordinates; actions taken by the Secretary-General; legal developments under related treaties; maritime disputes and conflicts; crimes at sea; development of non-living marine resources; marine science and technology; and technical cooperation and capacity-building in the Law of the Sea and ocean affairs.
In the Secretary-General's report on the 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 (document A/31/383), the importance of its early entry into force and effective implementation is emphasized. During its fiftieth session, the Assembly called upon all States and other entities entitled to do so to sign and ratify, or to accede to the Agreement, and to consider applying it provisionally.
The report goes on to describe a number of submissions and comments submitted by Member States; further information provided by international organizations, especially the report submitted by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO); and by non-governmental organizations.
The third report (document A/51/404) covers the issue of large-scale pelagic drift-net fishing and its impact on the living marine resources of the
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world's oceans and seas (the General Assembly, in its resolution 46/215 of 20 December 1991, called for, among other things, the full implementation of a global moratorium on all large-scale pelagic drift-net fishing on the high seas); unauthorized fishing in zones of national jurisdiction and its impact on the living marine resources of the world's oceans and seas; and fisheries by-catch and discards and their impact on the sustainable use of the world's living marine resources. The report takes into account, like the previous one, of member States contributions to the subject matter as well as information provided by international organizations and non-governmental organizations.
By the draft resolution on the Law of the Sea (document A/51/L.21), the Assembly would call upon all States that have not done so to become parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and to ratify, confirm formally or accede to the Agreement relating to the implementation of Part XI of the Convention. It would also call upon States to harmonize their national legislation with the provisions of the Convention. It would reaffirm the unified character of the Convention, recall its decision to fund the budget for the administrative expenses of the International Seabed Authority initially from the regular budget of the United Nations and reaffirm the importance of ensuring the uniform and consistent application of the Convention.
Under the text's provisions, the Assembly would also encourage States parties to consider making a written declaration choosing the different means of settlement of disputes set out in article 287 of the Convention (the Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, the International Court of Justice or a special tribunal). A further report from the Secretary-General would be requested, and an item entitled "Oceans and the law of the sea" would be included in the fifty-second session of the Assembly.
By the draft resolution on the Agreement on highly migratory fish stocks (document A/51/L.28), the Assembly would recognize the importance of the agreement on fish stocks and call upon all States and other entities to ratify or accede to it, and to consider applying it provisionally. It would note with concern that many commercially important straddling fish stocks and highly migratory fish stocks have been subject to heavy and little-regulated fishing efforts, and that some stocks continue to be overfished. It would urge States and relevant agencies and organizations to provide information to the Secretary-General. It would also request the Secretary-General to ensure that reporting on all major fishery-related activities and instruments is effectively coordinated and would include a sub-item on fish stocks in the item "Oceans and law of the sea" at its fifty-second session.
By the draft resolution on large-scale pelagic drift-net fishing (document A/51/L.29), the Assembly would reaffirm the importance it attaches to the full implementation of the global moratorium on all large-scale pelagic drift-net fishing on the high seas of the world's oceans and seas, including enclosed seas and semi-enclosed seas. It would also urge all authorities of members of the international community to take greater enforcement responsibility to ensure full compliance with the global moratorium on drift- net fishing (General Assembly resolution 46/215 of 1991). It would reiterate its call on development assistance organizations to make it a high priority to improve the monitoring and control of fishing activities and the enforcement of fishing regulations. It would also request a further report from the Secretary-General to be submitted at the fifty-second session, and biennially thereafter, and would include a sub-item related to large-scale pelagic drift- net fishing under the item "Oceans and law of the sea" in the agenda of the
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FELICITY WONG (New Zealand), introduced the draft resolutions on the Law of the Sea, the Agreement on highly migratory fish stocks and large-scale pelagic drift-net fishing. She then said the Secretary-General's report was comprehensive and provided the framework for discussion by drawing together all the global developments relating to the world's vast ocean areas. The report, she said, was the single means by which the international community reflected on ocean issues.
The overall implementation of the Convention on the Law of the Sea was the focus of the central Programme on Oceans at the United Nations, she continued. In the context of present United Nations reforms, the Division for Ocean Affairs and Law of the Sea should continue to receive priority and adequate resources. The General Assembly and the Secretary-General played a central role in that framework. The oversight provided by the General Assembly assumed even greater importance with the universal acceptance of the Convention.
H.L. DE SILVA (Sri Lanka) recalled that it was almost 14 years to the day that the Convention on the Law of the Sea was opened for signature at Montego Bay, Jamaica. It had entered into force nearly 12 years later, in 1994. It was indisputably one of the major achievements of the United Nations and had come to be regarded as a multilateral instrument that held out great promise and vast potential for the maintenance of peace, an equitable basis of sharing the resources of the world's oceans and a means for securing economic and social progress for all peoples of the earth.
For many developing countries, however, the Declaration adopted by the Assembly -- stating that the sea bed and ocean floor were the common heritage of mankind -- was still like "a last will and testament", that had yet to be proved and the benefits of which had yet to be distributed among the beneficiaries. To many of those countries, the ocean appeared to be the only feasible venue for development. But, the requisite financial capacity to realize that aim was absent, as the national priorities of most developing States tended to exhaust available financial resources.
Developing countries, and especially island States, he continued, had always had a vital stake in the protection of their fishing rights. To some extent they were at a disadvantage in comparison to developed States, which were equipped with large and technologically advanced fishing fleets and backed by large-scale commercial interests. They had caused heavy depletion,
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if not exhaustion, of local fishing stocks. The Indian Ocean Tuna Commission should ensure compliance with the internationally recognized regulatory measures for the conservation of that resource, and it should be fully representative of the countries with long-term interests in that region.
LAURENCE N. EDWARDS (Marshall Islands), speaking in his country's capacity as Chair of the South Pacific Forum, said the Forum's members were representatives of what had been called the "aquatic continent". Their cultures and way of life were totally linked to the oceans, its currents and its bounty, and for thousands of years they had relied on the sea for much of their livelihood. It was only in the last 100 years that they had seen serious encroachment into their valuable resources. Concerned over the loss of resources in other parts of the world and fearful of similar events in the Pacific, some members had become involved in the process of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
The world's seas and oceans were the common heritage of all mankind, he continued, and with the deep seabed, were among the last frontiers. It was therefore in the interest of all to ensure that the International Seabed Authority was appropriately funded, so as to accomplish its responsibilities and functions. In addition, there were some very crucial elements in the resolutions before the Assembly. All States must be called upon to seek to become parties to all of the important treaties. Further, there must be strict and complete compliance by all interested countries in observing sustainable management and use of the natural resources of the oceans and seas. The international community must support efforts at the regional level which sought to establish a working, realistic framework for the management of resources at that level and in that region. Finally, pointing out that members of the Forum and other concerned countries had noted that there was a need for a more inclusive discussion of the issues related to the Law of the Sea, he welcomed the broadening of the item at the next session, now to be entitled "Oceans and the Law of the Sea". That was particularly important to his own country, due to the problems it faced over nuclear contamination.
The States of the Forum were at the forefront of international efforts to bring drift-net fishing to an end, both regionally and globally, he continued. The international community must remain ready to respond swiftly and strongly to any evidence that the global moratorium on that destructive practice was being breached. He added that unauthorized fishing in zones under national jurisdiction continued to be a problem around the world. The Pacific area was characterized by vast areas of ocean within the exclusive economic zones of the Forum's members. It was vital that the international community also supported regional efforts at surveillance of the fisheries resources, as well as further research into the state of the different stocks of fish around the world.
JACK WILMOT (Ghana) said that the entry into force of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in 1994 was a great event for the international community. It constituted a significant step forward in the evolution of a legal regime to govern matters of the sea. The implementation of the Convention necessarily involved the establishment of the institutions
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created under the Convention, and also the coordination and harmonization of the legal issues and policy matters arising from the Convention. The obligation to protect the marine environment had been addressed by a large number of legal instruments at both global and regional levels. Those instruments recommended practices and procedures for marine environmental protection at various levels. He urged all States parties to ensure that specific obligations assumed under separate treaty regimes were undertaken in a manner consistent with the general principles and objectives of the Convention.
He said he wished to place on record his country's appreciation of the substantial work undertaken by the Commission on Sustainable Development, especially its review of Chapter 17 of Agenda 21 of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) which dealt with issues of substance in relation to the oceans, with specific reference to the marine environment. He noted with satisfaction the recommendations of the Commission concerning institutional arrangements for implementation of the global Programme of Action for protection of the marine environment from land-based activities, implementation of international fishery instruments as well as the need for additional measures to address degradation of the marine environment from offshore oil and gas development.
Scientific and technological capacity were a vital factor in any attempt by States to deepen their knowledge of the resources within their exclusive economic zones, a capacity woefully inadequate or in most instances non-existent in most developing countries, he said. The situation called for intensive efforts to equip those countries with the requisite scientific and technological capacity. In that regard, he noted with satisfaction that the Hamilton Shirley Amerasinghe Fellowship continued to offer post-graduate research and training in the field of the Law of the Sea and related matters. He also welcomed the new programmes on Integrated Coastal Zone Management, further noting that the progressive development of computer-generated information and databases on the Law of the Sea by the Division for Ocean Affairs and Law of the Sea deserved commendation. The system would be of immense benefit to States, particularly those at the preparatory stages of their legislative process.
JOHN H.F. CAMPBELL (Ireland) spoke for the European Union and the following associated States: Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Romania and Slovakia. He said the European Community expected to be in a position to become a party to the Convention and the necessary preparations were well advanced. The integrity of the Convention was vital, he said, highlighting the Convention's prohibition on States making declarations or statements which purported to exclude or modify the legal effects of the Convention's application to those States. With many declarations and statements having been made by States, the European Union was concerned that many of those were not in conformity with the Convention. He called upon States which had made statements or declarations to review them in light of the Convention's provisions and to withdraw those that were not in conformity with those provisions.
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Welcoming the establishment of the Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, he said the Convention set out several methods for dispute settlement using the Tribunal, the International Court of Justice or arbitral tribunals. It also provided for a facility for States to choose between them through a written declaration on ratification or accession, or thereafter. Urging States to make such declarations, he said the European Union believed that utilization of that facility would enhance the effectiveness of dispute settlement procedures. Attaching great importance to fisheries issues, the Union was pleased to join in the consensus on the two fisheries resolutions before the Assembly.
MANUEL TELLO (Mexico) said that considerable progress had been made in establishing the institutions provided for in the Convention on the Law of the Sea. For the Convention to achieve its objectives, in accordance with the principles of justice and equality of rights, it was necessary to ensure that its own organs and institutions, as well as the pertinent departments of the United Nations Secretariat, possessed the capacity to discharge their mandates.
States parties should also bring their national legislations in line with the provisions of the Convention, he continued. Mexico's living marine resources were endangered by others who had imposed their own economic and protectionist interests. Mexico had been the object of a unilateral commercial embargo since October 1990. The most significant consequence was the closure of other markets that were no less important to Mexico's economy. It had also meant that Mexico's tuna fleet had been paralyzed and around 6,000 workers were now unemployed. Mexico wished to reiterate its deep concern regarding those disloyal practices in the international fishing trade and deplored the commercial and sanitary restrictions applied to various fish products from Latin America, especially tuna. Those unilateral sanctions were contrary to international law, did not have any scientific basis and were contrary to the preservation of marine ecosystems and biodiversity.
CLAIBORNE PELL, Senator in the Congress of the United States, said that his Government wished to acknowledge its long-standing support for the Convention on the Law of the Sea, now ratified by 109 States. The Convention was one of the most ambitious and complex treaties ever concluded under the auspices of the United Nations.
The United States urged States to review the considerable number of declarations or statements made upon signature, ratification or accession, with a view to withdrawing those that were not in conformity with the Convention. It was also his Government's view that all Law of the Sea and ocean-related issues in the United Nations agenda be taken up under a single unified agenda item, instead of being dealt with in a piecemeal fashion. It was also important to encourage institutional arrangements that facilitated cooperation between all those at the United Nations who had a stake in the well-being of the oceans.
He said the United States' objectives regarding the issue continued to be: the promotion of widespread adherence to, and implementation of, the
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provisions of the Convention; implementation of the Agreement relating to Part XI of the Convention, with budgets held to a minimum; and provision for an annual overview of ocean issues in the United Nations General Assembly under a single agenda item, "Oceans and the law of the sea".
ABRAHAM IYAMBO (Namibia) said his Government supported the efforts to curb large-scale drift-net fishing on the high seas, in declared fishing zones and exclusive economic zones. Namibia had banned drift-net fishing in its waters. Any person who caught fish by means of a drift-net would be fined or imprisoned. The Government had developed a successful surveillance and enforcement programme to deter unauthorized fishing. Tight controls had been placed on discarding unwanted catch and wasteful fishing practices. Namibia was among the countries whose marine resources had been exploited and plundered by foreign trawlers before it achieved independence. Following independence in 1990, Namibia had established its exclusive economic zone and became one of the most recent States to take on the rights and responsibilities of the Convention.
Since then, Namibia had built a major fishing industry valued at $300 million annually, he said. That industry contributed nearly 30 per cent of the country's exports. After five years of conservation, the major fish stocks had only reached about half of the sustainable level. Namibia had joined with Angola and South Africa to discuss the establishment of a subregional organization for the conservation and sustainable use of the fish stock of the high seas. Namibia looked forward to working with other interested States beyond its region who were committed to enhancing global fishery resources through responsible fishing practices.
JEAN MARC MPAY (Cameroon) said his delegation welcomed the fact that the item under consideration now included not only the new information concerning the adoption and implementation of the Convention, but also all the questions pertaining to the preservation and management of the sea's biological resources.
The most important events concerning the issue, he continued, were the implementation of nearly all the institutions foreseen by the Convention, including the International Seabed Authority and the election of the members of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. The constitution of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, at the States parties meeting in March 1997, would complete the process. Cameroon hoped that the political wills that had forged those institutions would further develop and consolidate those institutions for the good of all of humanity.
WANG XUEXIAN (China) welcomed the completion of the Agreement for the implementation of Convention provisions on straddling fish stocks and highly migratory fish stocks, and called on all States parties to implement the Agreement. To safeguard the rights and interests of coastal States, China was in the process of updating its domestic maritime legislation. In addition, China was elaborating a law relating to the exercise of its sovereign rights and jurisdiction over its elusive economic zone and continental shelf, in accordance with the provisions of the Convention.
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With a long coastline and numerous islands, China's claims of exclusive economic zone and continental shelf overlapped with those of some neighbouring States with opposite or adjacent coasts, he continued. China believed that those problems should be solved through negotiations, as provided for in the Convention. When China made the decision to ratify the Convention, it had called for the delimitation of boundaries of maritime jurisdiction through consultations with the relevant neighbouring States, on the basis of international law and in accordance with the principle of equity. China had begun such consultations with the States concerned, enhancing mutual understanding and trust.
The World Oceanic Peace Conference had been held last month in China, he said. At the meeting of non-governmental organizations, the Beijing Declaration on Oceans was adopted. The Declaration proposed the establishment of a new oceanic order in the twenty-first century. It also recommended the joint management and scientific development of marine resources, so as to maintain the ecological balance of oceans and the sustainable development of marine resources. States parties to the Convention were called on to strengthen cooperation and establish joint management and development zones of marine resources. It also emphasized the peaceful settlement of disputes between States over islands and territorial seas.
LINGGAWATY HAKIM (Indonesia) said her country, an archipelagic State, was a firm supporter of the Convention and had been committed to harmonizing its national laws to be consistent with its provisions. Indonesia and its neighbouring States had promoted regional cooperation, particularly to prevent conflict in the South China Sea, the Pacific and the Indian Ocean through preventive diplomacy. Also, Indonesia had recently hosted a series of workshops on managing potential conflict in the South China Sea. The workshops had fostered confidence-building measures and cooperation among regional States concerning the protection of the marine environment and resources management.
She said her country had also worked with the Indian Ocean Marine Affairs Cooperation in Colombo, which had initiated various programmes to promote cooperation in the Indian Ocean region, she said. One such initiative was on establishment of institutional arrangements to manage and develop tuna resources. Her Government had been active in efforts to enhance cooperation on the conservation and management of shared resources between South-East Asia and the South Pacific, as well as between the South Pacific and the Pacific Latin American countries.
Technical cooperation was essential to support developing countries in meeting their responsibilities and enhancing their ability to participate in utilizing fisheries resources in the high seas and coastal waters, she said. To ensure the appropriate management of high seas fisheries and of the exclusive economic zones, the developed countries should transfer the necessary technology to developing countries. Such cooperation would enable developing countries to better conduct scientific research and fisheries operations in a more responsible manner.
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PATRICIA DURRANT (Jamaica), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said that the subject was one of tremendous importance to CARICOM delegations. Most of them were island developing nations and all were "washed" by the waters of the Caribbean. They recognized the importance of the effective implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and its uniform consistent application. It was an honour for CARICOM, she noted, that Jamaica hosted the headquarters of the International Seabed Authority. She called for the fullest understanding and cooperation between the United Nations and the new institutions for the Law of the Sea, including technical collaboration and mutual administrative support and assistance.
She said CARICOM placed a strong emphasis on the Law of the Sea and its relationship to issues affecting small island developing States. In that connection, she drew the attention of the Assembly to the provisions of Agenda 21 and the Barbados Programme of Action relating to the protection of oceans, seas and coastal zones. An important element of the Law of the Sea and ocean affairs must be the development and transfer of technologies that could effectively harness the vast resources of that area. She pointed out the need to be mindful of the relevance of the Law of the Sea to the development and preservation of international peace and security. The framework it provided for action on matters such as jurisdiction of territorial waters, responsibilities in the exclusive economic zones and the delimitation of maritime boundaries was most important.
She reiterated CARICOM's concern that the movement of hazardous materials through regions such as theirs, with its fragile eco-system and of small inhabited island States dispersed throughout the Caribbean Sea, demanded that due concern for the potential impact of those hazardous materials be taken into full account by all parties. She further reemphasized how important it was that the Assembly ensured that the International Seabed Authority was given adequate resources.
MYUNG-CHUL HAHM (Republic of Korea) noted that two years had passed since the entry into force of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. The adoption was epoch-making, in the sense that it marked the establishment of a new global maritime order through compromise and accommodation. Within that period, 49 countries had ratified and acceded to the Convention, bringing the total number of State parties to 109. For the Convention to have a universal character, however, it would require the participation of many of those countries that had not yet become State parties. Given the paramount importance of law and order on the sea to the peace and prosperity of mankind and the enormous contribution of the Convention towards that end, it was essential that the Convention be granted the universality necessary for it to become a new charter, governing all ocean matters.
As a maritime State, his country attached great importance to the successful conclusion and effective implementation of the Convention, he continued. It became a party to the Convention through the deposit of the instrument of ratification last January. Along with measures to join the new regime on the Law of the Sea, it had also introduced a series of measures to
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bring its domestic laws and regulations in line with the provisions of the Convention. On 26 November, he said, he signed the Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks. In light of the consistent efforts of his Government to live up to all relevant resolutions of the General Assembly in the field of fisheries, he regretted that the Secretary-General's report on drift-net fishing contained an unfounded allegation that Korean vessels were engaged in drift-net fishing in the Mediterranean. At considerable financial and social cost, his Government had scrapped all remaining drift-net fishing vessels and diverted fishermen to alternative employment. He requested that the Secretariat correct the inaccuracy in an appropriate manner.
It had taken more than a decade to bring into effect the new Law of the Sea enshrined under the Convention, he continued. Another decade might have to pass to see the objectives of the Convention fulfilled at the domestic level. The willingness of each State party to adhere to the Convention domestically was essential for making it an effective, viable and enduring legal instrument. Many Law of the Sea issues were prone to dispute due to their far-reaching economic, military, social and political implications. It was thus imperative for the peace and security of the international community that all maritime disputes be settled through the peaceful means set forth in the Convention. In his home region, numerous complicated maritime issues between the different States were awaiting an amicable solution. The peaceful resolution of those issues would be indispensable for the maintenance of peace and stability.
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