United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea

General Detail

General Information

  1. Type: Convention
  2. Date of signature:
  3. Place of signature: Montego Bay, Jamaica
  4. Depositary:
  5. Date of entry into force: 16/11/1994

Category

Environment and products

Sub category

Maritime and Law of the Sea

Groups

UNS

What is it about?

Often called a “constitution for the oceans”, the 1982 Convention codifies rules regarding navigational rights, territorial sea limits, economic jurisdiction, the legal status of resources on the seabed beyond the limits of national jurisdiction, the passage of ships through narrow straits, the conservation and management of living marine resources, the protection of the marine environment and marine research. Its adoption supersedes the four Geneva Conventions of 1958, (Convention on the Territorial Sea and the Contiguous Zone, Convention on the Continental Shelf, Convention on the High Seas, and the Convention of the Living Resources of the High Seas). There are two implementation agreements related to this Convention. In 1994, an Agreement on the Implementation of Part XI of the Convention was proposed by the UN General Assembly to address certain difficulties with the seabed mining provisions. In 1995, the Agreement for the Implementation of the Law of the Sea Convention relating to the Management and Conservation of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks was adopted, which set out principles for fish conservation and management and established that such management must be based on the precautionary approach.

Why is it relevant?

The 1982 Convention provides a universal legal framework for the effective and rational management of marine resources and their conservation for future generations. It codifies with precision the limits of the exclusive economic zone and the continental shelf. Coastal states have the right to exploit and manage but also the responsibility to conserve all natural resources (fish, oil, gas, ores) found in the water and on or underneath the seabed and for up to 200 miles from their coast.

Additional Information

The 1982 Convention provides a compulsory and binding framework for the peaceful settlement of all related disputes. When no settlement can be reached, a dispute may be submitted before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, which was established in accordance with Annex VI of the Convention, including the Seabed Disputes Chamber, The International Court of Justice, an arbitral tribunal constituted in accordance with Annex VII of the Convention or a special arbitral tribunal constituted in accordance with Annex VIII for one or more of the categories of disputes specified therein.

  • Agreement for the Implementation of the Law of the Sea Convention relating to the Management and Conservation of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks. (New York, 4 August 1995)
  • Agreement Relating to the Implementation of Part XI of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 (New York, 29 July 1994)
  • Convention on the Territorial Sea and the Contiguous Zone (Geneva, 29 April 1958)
  • Convention on the Continental Shelf (Geneva, 29 April 1958)
  • Convention on the High Seas (Geneva, 29 April 1958)
  • Convention on Fishing and Conservation of the Living Resources of the High Seas (Geneva, 29 April 1958)

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Country ratifications
CountryRatification date
Albania23/06/2003
Algeria11/06/1996
Angola05/12/1990
Antigua and Barbuda02/02/1989
Argentina01/12/1995
Armenia09/12/2002
Australia05/10/1994
Austria14/07/1995
Bahamas29/07/1983
Bahrain30/05/1985
Bangladesh27/07/2001
Barbados12/10/1993
Belarus30/08/2006
Belgium13/11/1998
Belize13/08/1983
Benin16/10/1997
Bolivia (Plurinational State of)28/04/1995
Bosnia and Herzegovina12/01/1994
Botswana02/05/1990
Brazil22/12/1988
Brunei Darussalam05/11/1996
Bulgaria15/05/1996
Burkina Faso25/01/2005
Cameroon19/11/1985
Canada07/11/2003
Cape Verde10/08/1987
Chad14/08/2009
Chile25/08/1997
China07/06/1996
Comoros21/06/1994
Congo09/07/2008
Costa Rica21/09/1992
Cote d'Ivoire26/03/1984
Croatia05/04/1995
Cuba15/08/1984
Cyprus12/12/1988
Czech Republic21/06/1996
Democratic Republic of the Congo17/02/1989
Denmark16/11/2004
Djibouti08/10/1991
Dominica24/10/1991
Dominican Republic10/07/2009
Ecuador24/09/2012
Egypt26/08/1983
Equatorial Guinea21/07/1997
Estonia26/08/2005
Fiji10/12/1982
Finland21/06/1996
France11/04/1996
Gabon11/03/1998
Gambia22/05/1984
Georgia21/03/1996
Germany14/10/1994
Ghana07/06/1983
Greece21/07/1995
Grenada25/04/1991
Guatemala11/02/1997
Guinea06/09/1985
Guinea-Bissau25/08/1986
Guyana16/11/1993
Haiti31/07/1996
Honduras05/10/1993
Hungary05/02/2002
Iceland21/06/1985
India29/06/1995
Indonesia03/02/1986
Iraq30/07/1985
Ireland21/06/1996
Italy13/01/1995
Jamaica31/03/1983
Japan20/06/1996
Jordan27/11/1995
Kenya02/03/1989
Kiribati24/02/2003
Kuwait02/05/1986
Lao People's Democratic Republic05/06/1998
Latvia23/12/2004
Lebanon05/01/1995
Lesotho31/05/2007
Liberia25/09/2008
Lithuania13/11/2003
Luxembourg05/10/2000
Macedonia (The former Yugoslav Republic of)19/08/1994
Madagascar22/08/2001
Malawi28/09/2010
Malaysia14/10/1996
Maldives07/09/2000
Mali16/07/1985
Malta20/05/1993
Marshall Islands09/08/1991
Mauritania17/07/1996
Mauritius04/11/1994
Mexico18/03/1983
Micronesia (Federated States of)29/04/1991
Moldova06/02/2007
Monaco20/03/1996
Mongolia13/08/1996
Montenegro23/10/2006
Morocco31/05/2007
Mozambique13/03/1997
Myanmar21/05/1996
Namibia18/04/1983
Nauru23/01/1996
Nepal02/11/1998
Netherlands28/06/1996
New Zealand19/07/1996
Nicaragua03/05/2000
Niger07/08/2013
Nigeria14/08/1986
Norway24/06/1996
Oman17/08/1989
Pakistan26/02/1997
Palau30/09/1996
Panama01/07/1996
Papua New Guinea14/01/1997
Paraguay26/09/1986
Philippines08/05/1984
Poland13/11/1998
Portugal03/11/1997
Qatar09/12/2002
Republic of Korea29/01/1996
Romania17/12/1996
Russian Federation12/03/1997
Saint Kitts and Nevis07/01/1993
Saint Lucia27/03/1985
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines01/10/1993
Samoa14/08/1995
Sao Tome and Principe03/11/1987
Saudi Arabia24/04/1996
Senegal25/10/1984
Serbia12/03/2001
Seychelles16/09/1991
Sierra Leone12/12/1994
Singapore17/11/1994
Slovakia08/05/1996
Slovenia16/06/1995
Solomon Islands23/06/1997
Somalia24/07/1989
South Africa23/12/1997
Spain15/01/1997
Sri Lanka19/07/1994
Sudan23/01/1985
Suriname09/07/1998
Swaziland24/09/2012
Sweden25/06/1996
Switzerland01/05/2009
Thailand15/05/2011
Timor-Leste08/01/2013
Togo16/04/1985
Tonga02/08/1995
Trinidad and Tobago25/04/1986
Tunisia24/04/1985
Tuvalu09/12/2002
Uganda09/11/1990
Ukraine26/07/1999
United Kingdom25/07/1997
United Republic of Tanzania30/09/1985
Uruguay10/12/1992
Vanuatu10/08/1999
Viet Nam25/07/1994
Yemen21/07/1987
Zambia07/03/1983
Zimbabwe24/02/1993
Treaties analysis
YearRatifications
19821
19838
19845
198511
19866
19873
19882
19895
19903
19916
19922
19937
199410
199512
199629
199713
19986
19992
20003
20013
20024
20034
20043
20052
20062
20073
20082
20093
20101
20111
20122
20132
Total166
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