Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. A.J. Nicholson, says the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), has balanced negotiations between developed and developing countries on navigational and maritime issues.
"The Convention has struck a delicate balance between the needs of developed and developing states, landlocked and geographically disadvantaged states, and the rights of coastal states. Today, we bear proud witness to the many accomplishments of the Convention during its 30 years of existence, including the successful negation of countless maritime disputes through the provisions outlined in the Convention," the Minister said.
Senator Nicholson was addressing a ceremony to unveil a plaque in commemoration of the 30th Anniversary of the signing of the 1982 UNCLOS, held at the Rose Hall Resort and Spa, in Montego Bay, St. James, on July 21.
The Minister pointed out that the agreement, involving some 119 countries, came after years of complex negotiations, and it has had “tremendous” impact on the international community over the last three decades.
He added that the landmark agreement resulted in the International Seabed Authority, which is headquartered in Kingston, one of three institutions emerging from the Convention.
"Regulations on protecting and exploring both polymetallic nodules and polymetallic sulphides in the deep seabed have been finalised over the past decade and work is underway to finalise regulations in respect of ferromanganese crusts," the Minister informed.
"It is anticipated that work will get underway in the next few years to make further progress on the mining code through the development of an exploration code. Countries from both the developed and developing world have shown great interest in exploration in the deep seabed, including small island developing states. The future can be bright for countries like Jamaica, which will hopefully capitalise on such opportunities," he added.
Noting that Jamaica is honoured in the role it played to establish the Convention, Senator Nicholson said as the country commemorates its 50th year of Independence, it is another milestone to host the 30th Anniversary of the UNCLOS.
He said the Convention has also played a pivotal role in international litigation, and Jamaica’s standing at the forefront in the signing of the agreement is another testament of the influence of small states in the international community.
"This Convention has proven to be such a landmark in the field of international law, that many who visit the island, aware of the Convention’s history, have consistently expressed the hope to visit and pay homage. Today, we all share the privilege in honouring the work and legacy of those who have gone before us and have laboured for this legal document,” the Minister said.