By: Elena Grace Flores
The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) came about after pirates ruled the sea centuries ago. The Hague in Netherlands is the venue for the court ruling on the dispute between China and the Philippines over the South China Sea tomorrow, July 12, 2016.
The convention covers all aspects of regulating the planet’s vast oceans and maritime waters. It is the authority on everything from national sovereignty over the exploitation of natural resources, navigation and disputes between nations. The convention lays down a comprehensive regime of law and order in the world’s oceans and seas, establishing rules governing all uses of the oceans and their resources.
In the face of the “looming conflict from 1945 to 1967 that could devastate the oceans,” Malta’s ambassador to the UN, Arvid Pard, called for “an effective international regime” over the seabed. The first conference on the Law of the Sea was held in New York in 1973 and they argued among themselves for 9 years. The UN General Assembly finally adopted the convention in April 1982. Signed by 150 countries and ratified by 67, it entered into force in November 1994.