Meeting of States Parties to United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea Held at Headquarters, 20-24 June

The twenty-sixth Meeting of States Parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea was held at Headquarters from 20 to 24 June. The background press release can be found at www.un.org/press/en/2016/sea2036.doc.htm.

The Meeting took note of the annual report of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea for 2015, as well as of the information reported by the Secretary-General of the International Seabed Authority and the Chairperson of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf on activities of those bodies since the twenty-fifth Meeting of States Parties.

The Meeting considered budgetary matters of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. In that regard, it took note with satisfaction of the report by the Registrar of the Tribunal on budgetary matters for the financial periods 2013-2014 and 2015-2016 (document SPLOS/295), appointed an Auditor for the financial years 2017-2020 (document SPLOS/296) and nominated a member and an alternate member to the staff pension committee of the Tribunal (document SPLOS/302). Following discussions in the working group on financial and budgetary matters, the Meeting adopted the budget of the Tribunal for the biennium 2017-2018 (document SPLOS/301).

The Open-Ended Working Group on the Conditions of Service of the Members of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, coordinated by James Waweru (Kenya), continued to consider the issues of the working space of the members of the Commission, as well as options for mechanisms to provide medical insurance coverage to members of the Commission. In that connection, the Meeting took note of the upgrades to the working space of the members of the Commission, which has been provided by the Secretariat. The Open-Ended Working Group will continue its work intersessionally.

The Meeting of States Parties decided to renew the request made at its twenty-first Meeting that the Commission and its subcommissions, meet in New York for up to 26 weeks, but not less than an intended minimum of 21 weeks a year for a period of five years. The next five-year period will start from 16 June 2017. In that connection, the Meeting also requested the Commission to prepare a plan of sessions to be held in 2017.

The Meeting also considered, under article 319 of the Convention, the report of the Secretary-General for the information of States Parties on issues of a general nature, relevant to States Parties, which have arisen with respect to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (documents A/70/74/Add.1 and A/71/74).

During the deliberations under that agenda item, a considerable number of States Parties and Observers made statements. Among other things, they highlighted the Convention as the legal framework within which all activities in the oceans and seas must be carried out and the importance of its effective implementation, including for the sustainable development of oceans and seas and their resources, in particular in the context of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the need for capacity-building and cross-sectoral cooperation and coordination.

A more detailed account of the proceedings of the twenty-sixth Meeting of States Parties will be included in the report of the Meeting, to be issued as document SPLOS/303 in due course.

Source: United Nations