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Vietnam chairs meeting on UNCLOS’s role in sustainable sea, ocean preservation

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”.

Professor of international law Malcolm Evans was invited as a keynote speaker at the event.

Evans said the UNCLOS, or “Charter of the Oceans”, is a framework covering all activities at seas and oceans, ensuring the balance between the demand for exploiting resources from seas and rights to freedom at sea, and sea management for common benefits.

A dispute settlement mechanism under the UNCLOS helps peacefully address disputes among nations, promote understanding about the UNCLOS, he said, adding that the UNCLOS could be regularly updated to meet current and future challenges in sea and ocean field such as marine security and safety, marine environment pollution, seabed resources exploitation and biodiversity.

About the SDG 14 implementation, he proposed expanding goals to meet new requirements for sustainable development such as seabed natural resource exploitation and response to challenges caused by climate change and rising sea level.

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.

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

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, 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 now comprises 107 UN member states, including five permanent members of the UN Security Council and others in Southeast Asia./.