Call for Papers: Contemporary Challenges of International Environmental Law

The University of Ljubljana Faculty of Law shall host a conference, entitled, Fourth Contemporary Challenges of International Environmental Law Conference, 20-21 April 2020, at the University of Ljubljana (Ljubljana, Slovenia). Abstracts for papers and posters are welcome until 30 January 2020. Numerous suggested topics could be addressed from a law of the sea perspective.

For further information see here.

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Conference: 12th International Forum on IUU Fishing

Chatham House shall host a forum, entitled, 12th International Forum on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing, 19 March 2020 at Chatham House (London, UK).

For further information and registration see here.

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Call for Papers: AsianSIL Regional Conference 2020 & Junior Scholars’ Conference 2020

The Nepalese Society of International Law and the Nepal Chapter of AsianSIL shall host the Regional Conference of the Asian Society of International Law (AsianSIL) 2020, entitled, Power and the Development of International Law: Asian Perspectives, on the 6 June 2020 in Kathmandu (Nepal). The Junior Scholars’ Conference 2020, entitled, New Challenges in International Law, will be held 5 June 2020 in Kathmandu (Nepal). A non-exhaustive list of topics is included in the call for papers, including numerous law of the sea interests. Abstracts are welcome until 15 February 2020.

For more information see the call for papers.

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Indonesia: Diplomatic protests following Chinese activities in Natuna waters

On the 30 December 2019 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia formally protested against Chinese vessels allegedly involved in IUU fishing activities in Indonesia’s EEZ (referred to by Indonesia as the ‘North Natuna Sea’), as well as the presence of a Chinese Coast Guard vessel. Indonesia’s response included summoning the Chinese Ambassador to Jakarta and submitting a diplomatic memorandum of protest.

The Indonesian position repeated its rejection of the Chinese ‘nine-dash line’, reiterated China’s obligations to comply with both UNCLOS (as a state party) and the South China Sea Arbitration Award (UNCLOS, Annex VII, Article 11; South China Sea Arbitration Award, Paragraph 1200) and reiterated Indonesia’s position that Indonesia does not have any overlapping jurisdiction with China in the South China Sea. On 1 January 2020subsequent statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia rejected the claims by China to historic maritime waters as without legal basis, as well as any Chinese references to ‘relevant waters’ as unrecognized in UNCLOS. “Indonesia Urges the People’s Republic of China to explain the legal basis and clear boundaries regarding the claims of the PRC in [the South China Sea] based on UNCLOS 1982” (Paragraph 3 [in Indonesian]).

In November 2015 a Chinese spokesperson stated “[t]he Chinese side has no objection to Indonesia’s sovereignty over the Natuna islands”. To date, in response to the December 2019 incident a Chinese spokesperson (31 December 2019; 2 January 2020) has repeated its general position on the South China Sea without further detail.

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Morocco: maritime delimitation bills approved

The Parliament of Morocco (Commission des Affaires étrangères, de la défense nationale, des affaires islamiques et des Marocains résidant à l’étranger à la Chambre des représentants) has approved (16 December 2019) two bills (projets de loi) concerning the delimitation of maritime zones. The projet de loi n° 37.17 alters the previous legislation on the territorial waters, updating existing baselines with more recently surveyed data; the projet de loi n° 38.17 alters previous legislation concerning the exclusive economic zone and the continental shelf. Both bills were first presented in 2017 and they apply to the waters adjacent to the Southern Provinces of Morocco, located within a Non-Self Governing Territory listed under Chapter XI of the Charter of the United Nations as “Western Sahara“.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Morocco has stated that these initiatives “do not mean the unavailability of Morocco for a solution to any possible conflict with its neighbours Spain and Mauritania”. This statement is available here (in French). In response, the Government of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic published a statement saying that the “unilateral Moroccan act to claim Western Sahara maritime zones is null and void”. This statement is available here.

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ITLOS: The M/T “San Padre Pio” (No. 2) Case (Switzerland/Nigeria)

By the Special Agreement and Notification of 17 December 2019, Switzerland and Nigeria have agreed to transfer their dispute concerning the arrest and detention of the M/T “San Padre Pio”, its crew and cargo to ITLOS (previously submitted to an UNCLOS Annex VII Arbitral Tribunal). Agreement was reached following consultations held 2-3 December 2019, as reflected in the Minutes of Consultations.

For further information see Case No. 29 and the ITLOS Press Release 298.  See also the related Case No. 27: The M/T “San Padre Pio” Case (Switzerland v. Nigeria), Provisional Measures.

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UNGA: Annual Resolutions Adopted on Law of the Sea & Sustainable Fisheries

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted two resolutions on the 10 December 2019, Resolution 74/19 Oceans and the law of the sea (draft text) and Resolution 74/18 Sustainable fisheries, including through the 1995 Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks, and related instruments (draft text).

Turkey voted against adoption of the text of Resolution 74/19 on the basis it does not agree UNCLOS has a “universal and unified character” (135 votes in favour, 1 against (Turkey), and 3 abstentions (Colombia, El Salvador, Venezuela)). Resolution 74/18 is adopted by consensus without a vote. Numerous states were critical of the failure to reach consensus on paragraphs addressing the findings of IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate. The adopted Resolutions only ‘note with concern’ the findings of that report (Resolution 74/19, para. 201; Resolution 74/18, para. 11).

For further information the final texts will be available at Resolution 74/19 and Resolution 74/18.

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