Further commitments by states at the Our Ocean Conference (16-17th June) to ratify the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (PSM Agreement), will bring the PSM Agreement closer to entry into force – with nearly half the required number of parties. A Presidential Memorandum by US President Barack Obama, demonstrated continued commitment to seek congressional ratification of the PSM Agreement. As reported by the US Department of State, several states have made, or are shortly forthcoming, commitments to expanded marine protected areas (MPA) within the Pacific Ocean. This includes commitments by the Cook Islands, Bahamas and Palau – with a total area covered at approximately 3 million square kilometers. Should the announced USA Pacific Ocean MPA be formally adopted, it will replace the New Caledonia Coral Sea Nature Park as the World’s largest MPA. More information on this conference (attended by approximately 400 government officials, marine experts and conservation organizations from 80 countries) to be found here.
Monthly Archives: June 2014
The Goettingen Journal of International Law is launching its anual student essay competition. Participants are free to choose both the topic and the exact area of the international law of the sea on which their submissions will elaborate. The deadline for submissions is 15 September 2014. More information on this call can be found here.
Government, employer and worker delegates to the International Labour Conference (ILC), at the 103rd annual meeting of International Labour Organization (ILO), overwhelmingly voted in favour of approving amendments to the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC,2006) in order to better protect abandoned seafarers, and provide financial security for compensation to seafarers and their families in cases of a seafarer’s death or long-term disability. These international legal measures are aimed at improving working and living conditions for seafarers, the most globalized of the world’s workers. These amendments can be found here and this ILO press release continues here.
Countries took a major step forward in the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing today as they endorsed a set of international guidelines that will hold states more accountable for the activities of fishing vessels flying their flags. The FAO Voluntary Guidelines for Flag State Performance spell out a range of actions that countries can take to ensure that vessels registered under their flags do not conduct IUU fishing, one of the greatest threats to sustainable fisheries and related livelihoods. All the information on the results of the thirty-first session of the FAO Committee on Fisheries can be found here.
Seven Members of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea were today elected at the twenty-fourth Meeting of States Parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, in session at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The States Parties re-elected the following five Members: Judge Yanai (Japan), Judge Hoffmann (South Africa), Judge Pawlak (Poland), Judge Kateka (Tanzania) and Judge Paik (Republic of Korea). In addition, the Meeting elected Mr Alonso Gómez-Robledo Verduzco (Mexico) and Mr Tomas Heidar (Iceland). The judges were elected for a term of nine years commencing on 1 October 2014. More information on who’s who can be found here.
Countries today endorsed a set of wide-reaching guidelines that will boost the already vital role of small-scale fishers in contributing to global food security, nutrition and poverty eradication. The Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication are designed to support the world’s millions of small-scale fishers, particularly in developing countries, by promoting their human rights and safeguarding the sustainable use of the fishery resources they depend upon for their livelihoods. Those guidelines, endorsed by FAO’s Committee on Fisheries, are published here.
In an effort to highlight the role of the oceans, and thus the importance of the Law of the Sea, the 8th June marked this year’s World Oceans Day. The celebration of World Oceans Day 2014 coincides with the first day of the twenty-fourth Meeting of States Parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the entry into force of the Convention. On this occasion, some important statements have been produced:
- United Nations Secretary General message
- Director General of UNESCO
- President of the General Assembly
World Oceans Day has been marked since 2009, having been established by General Assembly Resolution 63/111, para. 171.