The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea lays down a
comprehensive regime of law and order in the world's oceans and
seas establishing rules governing all uses of the oceans and their
resources. It enshrines the notion that all problems of ocean space
are closely interrelated and need to be addressed as a whole.
The Convention was opened for signature on 10
December 1982 in Montego Bay, Jamaica. This marked the culmination
of more than 14 years of work involving participation by more than
150 countries representing all regions of the world, all legal and
political systems and the spectrum of socio/economic development.
At the time of its adoption, the Convention embodied in one
instrument traditional rules for the uses of the oceans and at the
same time introduced new legal concepts and regimes and addressed
new concerns. The Convention also provided the framework for
further development of specific areas of the law of the sea.
The Convention entered into force in accordance with
its article 308 on 16 November 1994, 12 months after the date of
deposit of the sixtieth instrument of ratification or accession.
Today, it is the globally recognized regime dealing with all
matters relating to the law of the sea.
The Convention (full text) comprises 320 articles and
nine annexes, governing all aspects of ocean space, such as
delimitation, environmental control, marine scientific research,
economic and commercial activities, transfer of technology and the
settlement of disputes relating to ocean matters.