NEW YORK, 15 June (Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea) — The thirty-first Meeting of States Parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea will convene at United Nations Headquarters from 21 to 25 June. In light of the continuing situation related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the thirty-first meeting will be held in a format combining in-person plenary meetings at United Nations Headquarters with virtual consultations.
Often referred to as “the constitution for the oceans”, the Convention was opened for signature on 10 December 1982 and entered into force on 16 November 1994. Its 320 articles and 9 annexes govern all aspects of ocean space and maritime issues, from navigational rights, maritime limits and marine scientific research to resource management, marine environment protection and dispute settlement.
The implementation of the Convention is supported by three bodies established on its basis, namely the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (www.itlos.org), the International Seabed Authority (www.isa.org.jm) and the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (www.un.org/depts/los/clcs_new/clcs_home.htm).
The upcoming thirty-first meeting of States Parties will receive reports from the representatives of those three bodies on their annual activities. In keeping with its traditional agenda, the meeting will also consider administrative and budgetary matters of the Tribunal. Participants will address the conditions of service of the members of the Commission and the filling of a vacancy in the Commission. Under agenda item 14, titled “Other matters”, it will consider, inter alia, a draft decision on the extension of the terms of office of the current members of the Commission (SPLOS/31/L.2).
In addition, the meeting will consider the report of the Secretary-General under article 319 of the Convention for the information of States Parties on issues of a general nature, relevant to States Parties, which have arisen with respect to the Convention (document A/75/340).
The provisional agenda of the thirty-first Meeting of States Parties is contained in document SPLOS/31/L.1.
For further information on the Meeting of States Parties, including its documents, please see the website of the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, Office of Legal Affairs, at http://www.un.org/Depts/los/meeting_states_parties/thirtyfirstmeetingstatesparties.htm.