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Vietnam Chairs Meeting on Role of UNCLOS

Valerie Mai Valerie Mai

mnghonganh@gmail.com

July 22, 2021 | 15:27

The event highlights the importance of the UNCLOS in the fulfillment of UN Sustainable Development Goal No.14 (SDG 14).

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Vietnam Chairs Meeting on Role of UNCLOS
At the online meeting of UNCLOS Friends Group. (Photo: VOV)

The Permanent Mission of Vietnam to the United Nations (UN) chaired an online meeting of the Group of Friends on the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) on July 21. The event's theme highlights the importance of the UNCLOS in the fulfillment of UN Sustainable Development Goal No.14 (SDG 14) on conservation and sustainable use of seas and oceans”.

The event featured the participation of numerous ambassadors, delegation heads, and representatives of more than 120 UN member states.

Upon addressing the event, Malcolm Evans, British Professor of Public International Law at Bristol University, said that UNCLOS and the "Charter of the Oceans" is the framework that governs all activities ongoing in seas and oceans worldwide. Indeed, it ensures a balance between the need to exploit resources from the sea and the freedom and the governance of the sea which serves common interests.

Most notably, dispute settlement mechanisms established under the UNCLOS serve to settle disagreements in a peaceful manner between countries whilst also promoting understanding of the UNCLOS, VOV cited.

As UNCLOS reflects the majority of the rules of customary international law that are binding on all countries, the interpretation and application of UNCLOS by courts and arbitral tribunals will be of great importance to all nations, both member and non-member states of UNCLOS, he said.

Vietnam Chairs Meeting on Role of UNCLOS
Malcolm Evans, British Professor of Public International Law at Bristol University. (Photo: Bristol University)

Furthermore, UNCLOS can be regularly updated in order to meet current and future challenges in the sea and ocean fields, such as safety and security of the sea, pollution of the marine environment, and exploitation of resources undersea bottom and biodiversity.

With regard to the implementation of SDG 14, Prof. Evans went on to note that the SDG14 goals mainly focus on the issue of "life below water" and the benefits for developing and underdeveloped countries from fishing activities. However, the SDG14 goals should be expanded as a means of meeting emerging sustainable development needs, such as exploiting resources on the seabed, responding to challenges posed by climate change, and rising sea levels, Prof. Evans added.

Participants affirmed the UNCLOS’s central role and highly valued the role of the mechanism on peaceful settlement of disputes in promoting rules-based legal order at sea, contributing to the SDG implementation.

Vietnam Chairs Meeting on Role of UNCLOS
Ambassador Dang Dinh Quy. (Photo: Nhan Dan)

Several opinions expressed wish to soon restore negotiations on documents about biodiversity outside zones under the jurisdiction, and pay attention to the use of science-technology in research, exploitation, and preservation of seas and oceans, according to VNA.

They discussed challenges such as sea environment pollution, unsustainable use of seas and oceans, climate change, rising sea level, and the impacts of disputes at sea on sustainable development.

Speaking at the event, the head of the Vietnam Mission to the UN Ambassador Dang Dinh Quy said the Group of Friends will maintain its regular activities, thus increasing understanding about the UNCLOS and sharing good practices to meet the international community’s concern.

Founded on June 30, 2021, under the initiative of 12 countries, including Vietnam, Germany, and others, the Group of Friends on the 1982 UNCLOS now comprises 107 UN member states, including five permanent members of the UN Security Council and others in Southeast Asia.
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Valerie Mai