November 22, 2019

Statement by the DPR, Ms. Polly Ioannou, at the 29th Meeting of the State Parties to the UNCLOS, 17-19 June

29th Meeting of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the Commemoration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the entry into force of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea

United Nations, 17 June 2019

Mr. Chairman,

I wish to congratulate you on your election and to make some additional remarks to the statement of the European Union, to which my delegation fully subscribes.

The UNCLOS is one of the biggest achievements of the United Nations. The elaboration of an instrument which establishes the regime applicable to more than two thirds of the earth’s surface by striking such a delicate balance between all the Member States of the UN is an example of effective multilateralism at its best.

This balance is what makes the UNCLOS the constitution of our oceans and seas: the Convention prescribes the freedoms and the rights and obligations of all states in the maritime domain and it establishes universally-accepted rules that govern the delimitation of the coastal states’ maritime zones, as well as, inter alia, their sovereignty, their sovereign rights for the exploration and exploitation of the natural resources therein, and their jurisdiction. It has managed to set out the rules and the limits for all of us despite the diverse characteristics of our geography so that none of us may claim to be more advantaged or disadvantaged than the other and none of us may claim to deserve special treatment over and above the rules that apply to us all.

The Convention and the customary law that it reflects establish the rule of law in the seas and oceans. Without it, the activities of states at sea would be a constant source of friction. As a pillar of international relations and international law, the Convention – and indeed its mechanisms for the peaceful settlement of disputes – is a critical tool for the maintenance of international peace and security and this is why it is vital that all states which have not acceded to the Convention, do so.

The Convention is no less vital for the survival of our planet and the reversal of the destruction of the marine environment. As a framework which regulates the rights and obligations of states, its role in ensuring the sustainable use of the oceans – our source of life – is paramount.

That is why we must emphasize today, Mr. Chairman, the importance of upholding the universal and unified character of the Convention and its strategic importance as the basis for national, regional and global action and cooperation, as well as the importance of protecting and maintaining its integrity.

Thank you.