Promoting Dialogue and Cooperation to Preserve the Value of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea

The Group of Friends of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) have emphasized the importance of fostering communication and collaboration in order to safeguard the significance of UNCLOS.

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Ambassador Dang Hoang Giang, Permanent Representative of Vietnam to the United Nations (UN), on June 12 chaired the annual meeting of the Group of Friends of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), VNA reported Tuesday.

Ambassador Dang Hoang Giang, Permanent Representative of Vietnam to the United Nations. Photo: VNA
Ambassador Dang Hoang Giang, Permanent Representative of Vietnam to the United Nations at the SPLOS 33. Photo: VNA

The event was held on the occasion of the 33rd meeting of the States Parties to the UNCLOS (SPLOS 33) which is being organised from June 12-16 at the UN headquarters in New York.

The SPLOS 33 was opened on June 12 with the participation of 169 member countries. The UN Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs, Miguel de Serpa Soares, delivered a welcome speech.

The conference will review the implementation of the UNCLOS in the past year as well as report on the activities of bodies established under UNCLOS such as the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS), the International Seabed Authority, and the election of several ITLOS judges.

On behalf of the 12 founding countries of the group, Ambassador Giang reviewed its activities over the past year and called on member countries to join efforts to contribute to solving challenges related to sea and oceans, successfully implement Sustainable Development Goal No.14 which is the conservation and sustainable use of oceans, waters and marine resources.

He emphasised that the group will continue promoting multilateral dialogue and cooperation in the implementation and protection of the universality of the 1982 convention, and described it as a comprehensive legal framework governing all activities related to seas and oceans.

The annual meeting of the Group of Friends of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) chaired by Vietnam in New York on June 12, 2023. VNA/VNS Photo
The annual meeting of the Group of Friends of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) was chaired by Vietnam in New York on June 12, 2023. VNA/VNS Photo

Cornel Feruță, chair of SPLOS 33, expressed strong support for the value of UNCLOS 1982 in strengthening international law compliance; and appreciated contributions by the group in general and Vietnam in particular in promoting cooperation in the enforcement of the UNCLOS 1982 and ocean governance.

He voiced his hope that the group will further promote its role at UN forums in particular and international ones, in general, to continue pursuing the goals set out when it was established.

The 115-member group was the first initiated by Vietnam, which lobbied for the establishment together with Germany and joined the team of 12 core members, namely Argentina, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Jamaica, Kenya, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Oman, Senegal, South Africa, and Vietnam.

In related news, on June 14, Ambassador Vu Ho, acting head of SOM ASEAN Vietnam, voiced concerns about the ongoing complicated developments in cyber security, climate change, and East Sea issues at the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) held in Jakarta.

Participants expressed concern about complicated developments in the East Sea, supported ASEAN’s common principled stance on the East Sea, and upheld compliance with international law, especially UNCLOS 1982.

They also agreed to strengthen efforts to develop a practical and substantive Code of Conduct (COC) in the East Sea in accordance with international law and the UNCLOS 1982.

Hannah Nguyen