The Third UN Law of the Sea Conference

  • R. P. Barston


The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea was opened for signature at the final session of the conference in Jamaica on 10 December 1982.1 The enormous task of codifying and revising existing maritime law established by the Geneva conventions has spanned a period of over eight years. During this time the UN Conference on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) met in session for a total of over 90 weeks and held extensive intersessional consultations, producing ultimately a text containing 320 articles, with nine technical annexes and four resolutions. For many states, especially the core delegations, the conference provided a unique meeting ground, which facilitated the discussion and, to an important degree, the resolution of deep-seated problems. This process was undoubtedly aided by the ‘insulation’ of the conference from the wider effects of major international conflicts. In all, the Convention and Final Act was signed by 117 states, plus the Cook Islands and the United Nations Council for Namibia. Amongst the signatories were the Soviet Union and Eastern European bloc, five members of the EEC (France, Denmark, Greece, Ireland and the Netherlands) and the bulk of countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. In addition, 23 states which did not sign the Convention signed the Final Act.2


Coastal State German Democratic Republic Exclusive Economic Zone Geneva Convention Outer Limit 
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Notes and References

  1. 7.
    See R. P. Barston and P. Birnie (eds), The Maritime Dimension (London: Allen & Unwin, 1980) p. 156.Google Scholar
  2. 12.
    The United States did not participate in the tenth session of UNCLOS in 1981 pending the second major review of United States policy. For a discussion of United States objections to the deep seabed mining provisions, see R. P. Barston, ‘The Law of the Sea’, Journal of World Trade Law, vol. 17, no. 3 (May/June 1983) 207–10.Google Scholar
  3. 14.
    FAO, Limits of Territorial Seas, Fishing Zones and EEZs, September 1982.Google Scholar
  4. 21.
    Fisheries are the main export of the group. The major licensing agreement with Japan of June 1978 was the subject of protracted renegotiations during 1982. For the text of the International Agreements (Government of Japan) Order 1978, see Kiribati Gazette, 29 May 1981.Google Scholar
  5. 22.
    See J. V. R. Prescott, ‘Maritime Jurisdiction in Southeast Asia: A Commentary and Map’, Research Report (Honolulu, Hawaii: East-West Environment and Policy Institute, 1981).Google Scholar
  6. 26.
    See G. Marston ‘United Kingdom: Legislation on Deep Sea Mining’, Journal of World Trade Law, vol. 16 (January 1982) 86; Decree No. 81, 555, Journal Officiel, no. 115 (16 May 1981);Google Scholar
  7. R. P. Barston, ‘The Law of the Sea’, Journal of World Trade Law, vol. 17 (May/June 1983) pp. 217–18 on Soviet and Japanese legislation.Google Scholar
  8. 31.
    For a detailed discussion of the development of zones in military conflict see R. P. Barston and P. Birnie, ‘The Falkland Islands/Islas Malvinas Conflict: A Question of Zones’, Marine Policy (January 1983) 14–24.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© G. R. Berridge and A. Jennings 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. P. Barston

There are no affiliations available

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