Contents - Previous - Next

This is the old United Nations University website. Visit the new site at

Opening addresses

H.E. Dr Mário Soares, president of the republic of Portugal
Mr Maurice strong, UNEP (Dr Alicia Barcena, UNCED, on behalf of Mr Strong)
Dr Joseph Warioba, Tanzania

H.E. Dr Mário Soares, president of the republic of Portugal

H.E. Dr Mário Soares, President of the Republic of Portugal, Dr Alicia Barcena, UNCED, and Dr Joseph Warioba, Tanzania

Mr President of the "Pacem in Maribus" Conference,
Hon Minister of the Sea,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

When I first met Professor Elisabeth Mann Borgese, Chairperson of the International Ocean Institute, I was impressed by her intelligence and profound knowledge. Indeed, the daughter of Thomas Mann, whom I have always admired since the time of my youth, manages to build an exceptional scientific background on a broad humanistic culture which makes her personality unique and fascinating. I then invited her to deliver a lecture in Portugal, as part of a series of conferences called "Experiences of the World" which I had the pleasure to organize together with the University of Oporto. She came and "bewitched" us. Following conversations with my old friend Mário Ruivo, to whom I am so much indebted for having given me the honour to meet Elisabeth Mann, the idea of organizing in Portugal this important XIX Pacem in Maribus Conference that was to be devoted to ocean management issues came up. I did my best to encourage that idea, for the obvious reason that Portugal and the sea have been linked together in an intimate centuries-old relationship which has laid an everlasting mark on the most outstanding events in our history and provided the mould where human adventure was to be cast.

I am extremely grateful for the honour that has been given to Portugal to welcome you here, at the "Torre do Tombo" National Archives, the home that preserves the memory of our nation? under the guidance of my old friend and illustrious historian Jorge de Macedo. I know that making this conference come into being has not been an easy task. May I therefore congratulate the International Ocean Institute, presided over by Ambassador Layashi Yaker, on the excellent preparation of this event in spite of such severe time constraints. All these efforts have made it possible, inter alia, to gather highly valuable documentation prepared by a number of world famous specialists here today and to whom I would like to extend a hearty welcome.

Stating that people are nowadays becoming more and more aware of the increasing importance of the ocean is almost a cliche. The future of the world or rather the future of mankind - heavily depends on the health of the oceans and on their natural ecological balance. Suffice it to mention that today oceans are recognized to have a decisive impact on the global changes now under way, particularly those concerning climatic and sealevel variations with serious ecological implications. These are extremely important issues that need increasing awareness and appropriate steps to be taken, if we wish mankind to avoid serious hazards, of which we need understanding so as to prevent or reduce them.

On the other hand, oceans are also increasingly important in terms of international cooperation and economic and social development of all countries, including the land-locked ones. One example of this is the participation of the Heads of Agencies and other institutions of the United Nations System in the Honorary Committee and the place that the oceans occupy on the national agendas of various states and in the concerns of the world community at large.

Broadly speaking, there is today increasing awareness of the risk that great ecological catastrophes may recur, as well as of the hazards arising from certain development models that are built into the modern industrialized societies. These do not provide sufficient protection for maintaining the equilibrium of the natural environment. Hence the urgent need to lay down an appropriate ethical and legal framework with a view to ensuring environmental protection worldwide.

Without frustrating the hopes of developing societies that are legitimately aspiring to achieve their own welfare by turning their resources to better account, it is imperative that in our time we safeguard the quality of life of peoples while protecting the rights of future generations, which naturally require new forms of solidarity and a legal framework which must be universally respected.

The concept of sustainable development respectful of ecological balance, which was advocated in the Brundtland Report and which is one of the objectives of the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) to be held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, seeks to respond to this problématique which is characteristic of contemporary societies.

"Pacem in Maribus" is therefore a highly commendable initiative trying to put forward ideas and suggestions meant to help identify new approaches to ocean management so as to strike the right balance between the requirements of development and of maintaining environmental quality, with the full participation and commitment of all parties involved.

The international community has come now to a turning point - an exciting and complex stage that is not devoid of great difficulties, contradictions, and risks. The need is being felt all over the world for a new order to be set up, now that we are entering the post-Yalta era with the world no longer being split into political and military blocs facing each other as irreconcilable enemies. A long-lasting peace, something more than the state of no-war, seems to be within men's reach. Some encouraging signs are a reinforcement of democracy and progress in the respect of human rights. However, we should not ignore all kinds of violations and atrocities such as the ones that, in 1991, horrified the international community, i.e. in East Timor, a martyrized people dominated by Indonesia in conditions of intolerable oppression.

Within this international setting, where some of the most serious regional conflicts are about to find a solution while, to our deep regret, other conflicts are emerging, it is imperative that the main issues challenging mankind at the turn of this millenary be widely disseminated and discussed with all the scientific and technical accuracy they require. It is vitally important to provide access to updated information and organize a far-ranging public debate tackling all these issues both nationwide - and worldwide.

It is precisely the normal course of the natural processes governing the habitability to live on this planet that is at stake. As shown in the very topic of this "Pacem in Maribus" Conference, there is an urgent need to analyse and redesign the ocean management schemes and mechanisms by taking an approach that should be both humanistic as to the values from which we should derive inspiration and pragmatic as to the rules governing our action. But this can never be achieved without reaching the required consensus.

May I take this opportunity to mention the United Nations Law of the Sea Convention, signed in 1982 but not yet ratified by a number of countries, including Portugal. I think it is timely to bring this issue back into the spotlight, in the context of UNCED, as a contribution to its success and to enhance the credibility of the measures to be taken there, specially relating to the Convention on Climate Change.

According to the philosophy underlying the United Nations Law of the Sea Convention (the Portuguese version of which has been worked out by consensus among the seven Portuguese-speaking countries), oceans are recognized to be an area that calls for an integrated management approach: an approach requiring some very sensitive but necessary institutional adjustments to be brought at all levels so as to avoid tackling these matters from a traditional and strictly national and sectorial viewpoint.

As I have mentioned before, Portugal holds all sea-related matters near to its heart. Indeed, throughout its history, Portugal has always been committed to the sea, which explains why we are so deeply concerned with such issues. I think the very fact that a Ministry of the Sea has been re-established recently speaks for itself as clear evidence of this commitment.

This "Pacem in Maribus" Conference will, I am sure, usher in a new approach to ocean-related issues. The agenda under consideration, the high scientific expertise of participants, its wealth of reference documentation, and the intellectual creativity of its organizers guarantee success.

May I voice my deepest satisfaction with Portugal having been chosen as the venue of this Conference. We furthermore hope to host the International Exhibition, scheduled for 1998, an event that will significantly be devoted to the ocean's heritage of humankind.

I take the view that there is a need to narrow the gap - unfortunately an increasing one - between the highly industrialized countries on the one hand, and the developing countries, on the other hand, as to research, utilization, and management of oceans. The technological gap is a decisive factor in this respect. I have exchanged ideas with the Director-General of UNESCO, Professor Federico Mayor, who shares the same concerns. Hence our intention to convene jointly next year in Lisbon (and counting, of course, on the Portuguese Government's support) a Conference aimed at bringing together world famous scientists, experts in ocean sciences, and world leaders concerned with these issues. In our view, this could make an appropriate contribution to the study, clarification, and diffusion of this issue, which, as much as it worries us, at the same time fascinates us.

We are looking to see how this idea is taken in hand and in what ways it can be realized.

Before I conclude, may I reiterate my thanks for your kind invitation to address the opening ceremony of this "Pacem in Maribus" Conference, and wish you all a pleasant stay in Portugal and every success in your work.

Mr Maurice strong, UNEP (Dr Alicia Barcena, UNCED, on behalf of Mr Strong)

Dr Alicia Barcena, UNCED, on behalf of Mr Maurice Strong, UNEP

The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development

The 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development rests on the twin propositions that environmental management cannot be secured without addressing underlying causes in the nature and pattern of development, and equally, that the pursuit of development requires systematic attention to the environmental basis on which all production depends.

Integration is at the very heart of the UNCED. Individually, the issues considered in the UNCED cover a wide range and provide a forum for discussion of the linkages between issues being considered separately in different forums, and for the integration of environmental issues with related developmental problems, and vice versa. Beyond 1992, the main task of the UNCED process is to move the joint environment and development issues into the centre of economic policy and decision-making.

The journey to Rio, and from Rio, provides an opportunity for drawing together many strands of development in international cooperation. In preparing proposals for the leaders of the world, we necessarily draw upon a wide range of experience, knowledge, and capacity, not only of Governments and international organizations, but of scientists, leaders of business and industry, trade unions, educators, as well as such special constituencies as women, youth, indigenous peoples, and many others. All these organizations and groups have a primary, indeed decisive, role in implementing and following up the results of the UNCED.

In the case of the oceans, the very substantial achievements of the Law of the Sea Convention is most significant. As Elisabeth Mann Borgese stated in Pacem in Maribus XVI: "The Law of the Sea Convention, if properly interpreted and implemented, is, in fact, the most advanced legal instrument we have for international cooperation in the management and development of resources, the protection of the environment, and the reservation of the large part of the globe for peaceful purposes". The UNCED builds on these achievements.

In December 1989, the United Nations General Assembly, responding to the report of the Brundtland Commission, decided to hold a conference on environment and development in June 1992. It was decided, further, that nations would be represented at the conference by their Heads of State or Government. This will make it the first ever "Earth Summit."

Resolution 44/228, which established the mandate of the Conference, made it clear that "environment and development" must be dealt with on an integrated basis for every issue considered, from climate change to human settlements. A series of concrete measures evolved from the conference. These included:

1. An "Earth Charter" or Declaration of basic principles for the conduct of nations and peoples in respect of environment and development to ensure the future viability and integrity of the Earth as a hospitable home for human and other forms of life.

2. An agenda for action, "Agenda 21," establishing the agreed work programme of the international community into the twenty-first century in respect of the issues addressed by the Conference with priorities, targets, cost estimates, modalities, and assignment of responsibilities.

And the means to implement this agenda through:

3. New and additional financial resources.

4. Transfer of technology.

5. Strengthening of institutional capacities and processes, together with

6. Agreements on specific legal measures, e.g. conventions for the protection of the atmosphere, biological diversity, and possibly forests.

A set of new priorities

Within this agenda, governments will be called upon to act on a series of concrete measures which will literally change the basis of our economic life, our relations with each other and our prospects for the future. These will provide the basis for a new set of priorities for the world community:

- revitalization of the economies of the developing countries;

- reversing the outflow of resources from developing countries, and ensuring their access to the new and additional resources and technologies they will require to incorporate the environmental dimension into their own development and participate fully in international environmental cooperation;

- eradication of poverty, the principal source of the environmental problems of developing countries and a major threat to the achievement of global environmental security;

- reversal of the destruction of renewable resources, soil, forests, biological, and genetic resources;

- ensuring availability of energy supplies, particularly to developing countries under conditions that will safeguard the environment and contain risks of climate change;

- ensuring availability and protection of water supplies; ensuring food security;

- ensuring equitable access to, and use of, the global commons by all nations under conditions that will provide for their protection;

- changing the system of incentives and penalties which motivate economic behaviour, to ensure that they provide strong incentives to sustainability and changes in national accounts to reflect the real values of the environment and resources;

- transition to patterns of production and consumption in the industrialized countries which will drastically reduce their disproportionate contribution to the deterioration of the earth's environment and related global environmental risks.

Global cooperation: The different perspectives of developing and industrialized countries

In this important undertaking, the global challenge that sustainable development poses is one of cooperation, and cooperation can only be based on common interests. While there is widespread acknowledgement, at the level of principle, of the need to achieve a sustainable balance between environment and development, it should be no surprise that the perspectives of developing countries on the issues differ substantially from those of industrialized countries.

The industrialized countries must take the lead in effecting this transformation. For the unparalleled economic growth that has produced their wealth and power has also given rise to most of the major global environmental risks we face. This will involve significant changes in lifestyles as more people in the industrialized world opt for lives of sophisticated modesty, and people of developing countries receive greater support in their attempts to achieve livelihoods which do not undermine or destroy the environment and resource base on which their future livelihoods depend. There will be basic changes in consumer preferences and practices, the portents of which are already visible in the move towards green consumerism.

Developing countries share the risks we confront and indeed, are even more vulnerable to them, but they are only at the early stages of the economic development to which they aspire. Their right to grow cannot be denied, but their growth will clearly add immensely to global environmental pressures and risks unless they, too, can make the transition to more sustainable modes of development. Developing countries can neither afford nor be expected to do this unless they have access to the additional financial resources and technologies they require to integrate the environmental dimension into their development.

Of special importance is a massive attack on the vicious circle of poverty in which so many millions of people are caught up, driving them to meet their immediate survival needs by destroying the environmental and resource base on which their future survival and well-being depend and adding to global environmental risks. In economic and environmental, as well as in humanitarian terms, it will be far less costly and more effective to act now than to postpone action.

Sustainable development cannot be imposed by external pressures; it must be rooted in the culture, the values, the interests, and the priorities of the people concerned. While the transition to sustainability will require a supportive international economic environment, it must not provide a basis for external imposition of new conditions or constraints on development. Developing countries cannot be denied their right to grow, or to choose their own pathways to growth. Nor should that right be constrained by new conditions on financial flows or trade imposed in the name of environment.

But their transition to sustainability cannot be expected without the support of the international community. This is particularly needed to reverse the outflow of resources that has stifled the economic growth of the developing countries, and to ensure that these countries have access on a long-term basis to the resource flows they will need to revitalize their economic life and make the transition to environmentally sustainable development. Of critical importance in this is the need to deal more fundamentally with the debt issue. Debt for nature swaps may be useful in addressing particular needs, but are marginal in their overall effect. The principle behind them may, however, serve as a basis for the kind of basic reduction in debt servicing charges that is essential to the revitalization of development.

Sustainable development involves a process of deep and profound change in the political, social, economic, institutional, and technological order including the re-definition of relations between developing and more developed countries. Governments must take the lead and establish the basic policy framework, incentives, and infrastructures required for sustainability. But the primary actors are people, acting through the many non-governmental organizations and citizen groups through which societies function. The broader common interest that all governments and people share for the future of our planet provides a powerful incentive to bridge these difficulties. The 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development - The Earth Summit - can only succeed if it has a sound base for the awareness and engagement of people.

Common and shared responsibilities

Everybody recognizes that the marine sector is a crucial element of any broad development strategy and that a new international order has been emerging from the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Amongst the issues being addressed in preparation for the "Earth Summit", oceans is central to a variety of concerns. It will be, therefore, no surprise that oceans are also amongst the most sensitive and difficult of issues.

Technology and capacity building

Actions for sustainable development - as outlined in Agenda 21 will require a certain level of technology development and adaptation, as well as their transfer on a fair and affordable basis to developing countries. They will also need to be supported by major programmes of information, education, and training within all countries, and coordinated at the international level. Technologies will be needed for energy efficiency programmes, and for alternative, non - or low-greenhouse-gas supply options. One important element of this is the capacity of developing countries themselves to develop the technologies which are most appropriate to their needs.

Most developing countries are unable to obtain access to information on the range of technologies available from within their own country or externally, and the experience of others in using them. Nor do they themselves have the resources necessary to establish networks to access such information.

Closely linked to the issue of technology is that of capacity building. It is essential to ensure that a sound infrastructure is put in place to implement, maintain and adapt the technologies that are available. Improving upon the strengths of the developing countries and reducing their vulnerabilities requires a quantum increase in support for the development of their human resources and related institutional capacities, particularly in the fields of science, technology, management, and professional skills. The key to self-reliance is to foster a pool of indigenous talent that can adapt and innovate, in a world where knowledge is the primary basis of competitiveness. Human skills, institutions, information, and analytical capabilities should be built up not only to assess and absorb desirable technology from outside, but also to develop it locally.

The South Commission recognized that the primary responsibility for the future of developing countries rests, of course, with them, and their success will depend largely on their own efforts in strengthening their professional and institutional capacities, and realigning their budgetary priorities in order to improve their ability to innovate, absorb, adapt, and develop technologies in a world in which knowledge is the primary basis of competitiveness. But they deserve and require an international system that lends strong support to these efforts. This includes substantially increased financial assistance, and much better access to markets, private investment, and technology to enable them to build stronger and more diversified economies, to effect the transition to sustainable development and to reduce their vulnerability to changes in the international economy.

This will call for something much more than a mere extension of existing concepts of foreign aid which can no longer be seen as a satisfactory basis for relationships between rich and poor countries. It calls for a wholly new global partnership based on common and shared responsibilities, one in which developing countries will have the incentive and the means to cooperate fully in protecting the global environment while meeting their needs and aspirations for economic growth.


No single event can be expected in itself to resolve the many complex issues that confront the world community. But UNCED provided a unique opportunity for a major shift in inertia required to put us on the pathway to a more secure and sustainable future. At the core of this shift there will be changes in our economic life, a more careful and more caring use of the earth's resources and greater cooperation and equity in sharing the benefits as well as the risks of our technological civilization. The Conference provided a new basis for relations between North, South, East, and West: a new global partnership based on common interest, mutual need, and shared responsibility, including a concerted attack on poverty as a central priority for the twenty-first century. This is now as imperative in terms of our global environmental security as it is in moral and humanitarian terms. Together these will provide the basis for a more secure and hopeful future for our planet as a hospitable home for our species and the other forms of life with which we share it.

The primary responsibility for our common future on this "Only One Earth" lies in a very real sense "in our hands."

Dr Joseph Warioba, Tanzania

Dr Joseph Warioba, Tanzania

It is now twenty-four years since Dr Pardo, on behalf of Malta, placed the issue of the Common Heritage of Mankind on the agenda of the General Assembly of the United Nations. It took fifteen years of discussion, preparation, and negotiation - from 1967 to 1982 - to adopt the Convention on the Law of the Sea. The 1970s was a decade of intensive activity and effort in an attempt to evolve a new international economic order and to establish a new order in the oceans. The negotiations on a new international order were virtually killed at the Cancun Summit in 1981, but the Law of the Sea negotiations were successfully concluded and the Law of the Sea Convention was adopted and opened for signature in December, 1982, at Montego Bay, Jamaica.

But even after so many years of intensive global discussion and great achievement, the full significance of the Law of the Sea Convention is yet to be acknowledged. In the early eighties an attempt was made to minimize the importance of the Convention by arguing that apart from Part XI the Convention simply codifies customary law or reflects existing international practice. Apart from the argument being false, the reality now is that state action relating to matters of the oceans has reference to the Convention. The evidence available shows clearly that States have accepted the Convention and national, regional, and international action relative to the ocean has reference to the Convention. The International Court of Justice now also bases its decisions on the Convention. With regard to Part XI, which deals with the global commons, States, even those which do not fully accept it, have acknowledged its importance. For example, major powers which did not sign the Convention accepted the provisions of Resolution II of the Conference and resolved conflicts of overlap in accordance with the principles laid down by the Convention. Indeed they found it appropriate to do so under the good offices of the Preparatory Commission. Even the United States, which is neither a signatory of the Convention nor a participant in the Preparatory Commission, was interested in and implicitly accepted, the methods used to resolve the conflicts of overlap.

As it has been stated so many times, "the problems of ocean space are closely interrelated and need to be considered as a whole." Before 1982 matters relating to the oceans were scattered in several conventions, including the conventions resulting from the conference of 1958. The 1982 Convention is one comprehensive whole. It is indeed a world constitution for the oceans; and as such its ratification is very important.

The Convention is important because it is universal in every sense. Participation in its making was universal in a real sense. The number of participating states and countries was larger than the membership of the United Nations, and the participation of international organizations, both governmental and non-governmental, was probably the largest ever. Furthermore, the participation of every entity was very significant.

For developing countries one can say this was the first important international instrument where their contribution was most impressive and was so acknowledged. It is the one instrument where both the developed and developing worlds can point out clearly that such and such contribution came from the developing world.

Although the Convention is comprehensive and although most of the provisions are detailed and specific, especially in Part XI, there are areas where the provisions are very general in nature and there is a need to develop them further; for example, the chapters on marine scientific research, protection, and preservation of the marine environment and development and transfer of marine technology. Development in these areas would be best done within the framework and using the mechanisms set out in the Convention. This is particularly important in view of such events as the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. The Law of the Sea Convention contains the only existing, comprehensive, binding, and enforceable international environmental law covering pollution from all sources, whether oceanic, land-based, or atmospheric. It is indeed the only existing legal instrument that effectively integrates the protection of the environment with development - development of living and non-living resources, development of science and technology, and development of human resources. It is also the only existing legal instrument that imposes binding and enforceable peaceful settlement of disputes arising from, among other things, environmental issues.

Ratification is also important in order to consolidate the comprehensiveness of the Convention. The coming into force of the Convention will trigger into action the institutional framework and mechanism envisaged in its provisions. It is true that the institutional framework that is beginning to emerge as a consequence of the Convention is indeed the most advanced that has been conceived so far to meet the challenges put forward by the Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development. It is true also that there is now widespread agreement that a new forum is needed where the problems of ocean space can be considered as a whole. But the present situation needs to be improved. The progress that has been made so far is at the international level, particularly with regard to international governmental organizations. They have tried individually to incorporate and expand their ocean-related activities and they have also made commendable efforts to develop mechanisms for close cooperation and coordination. But these efforts by themselves are not enough. Of crucial importance is the development of a coordinated approach at national and regional levels, particularly in developing countries.

At the national level, especially in the developing countries, the proper institutional framework and mechanisms are not in place to deal with ocean matters on a comprehensive basis. It is common to find in any government different departments dealing with different aspects of ocean matters in complete isolation. In my own country (Tanzania), for example, fisheries, mining, scientific research, environment, etc. are each under a different ministry and there is no proper coordinating mechanism. Decision-making is also done in an uncoordinated manner and participation at regional and international levels is similarly ineffective.

Although at the regional level some efforts have been, and are being made, to improve the situation, especially in areas where international organizations are active, there is still much to be done. The Convention is the only guide to a comprehensive approach and its coming into force will greatly influence action at all levels. The universal participation in the formulation of the provisions of the Convention greatly influenced States to consider issues of the oceans in a comprehensive and coordinated manner, and I believe the coming into force of the Convention will have a tremendous impact on State action and it will of necessity influence institutional frameworks and mechanisms at the national and the regional level, which will similarly have a comprehensive approach.

It is nine years since the Convention was concluded and signed. Sixty ratifications are required before it comes into force, and on the receipt of the sixtieth ratification a year will elapse before the Convention comes into force. In the meantime, two things ought to be done. The first is that States party to the Convention must agree on a very clear and practical policy with regard to what to do next. The Preparatory Commission, without fanfare, has done a commendable job in the preparation of the detailed rules and regulations. International organizations have also done a lot of useful work which will help a great deal when the Convention comes into force. But even with the commendable work done so far, the period between the sixtieth ratification and the coming into force of the Convention is of crucial importance for the future of the law of the sea and world order.

States that have ratified the Convention are mostly developing countries. This is not surprising. As already stated, the Convention is the first major international instrument in which the contribution of the developing countries was very significant. All developing countries participated actively and effectively in the negotiations. In the process they were able to understand not only the complexity of the issues and the importance of dealing with all the issues of the oceans as a comprehensive whole, but they also understood the importance of managing ocean affairs under a generally agreed international legal instrument. Taking into account their weak position in international relations, they stand to benefit in a fair manner if the Convention is the governing instrument.

The ratification and coming into force of the Convention is extremely important for developing countries, and they have, therefore, a heavier responsibility to bring the Convention into operation. There are of course some problems in the Convention coming into force without the effective participation of the major powers. For example, the establishment of the Council of the Seabed Authority and its various organs will not be possible under the formula laid down in the provisions of the Convention. The composition and procedure of voting of the Council requires consideration of various special interests, something which will not be possible if the Convention will come into effect on the ratification of only developing countries. But this should not be an obstacle, article 308 anticipated this sort of situation by providing that the first Council would be constituted in a manner consistent with the purpose of article 161 if the provisions of that article (which require a composition of the Council to conform to special interests) cannot be strictly applied. The establishment and maintenance of the Secretariat and the convening of the Assembly may also not be easy, mainly because of the inability of ratifying States to foot the expenses, but this can easily be resolved by evolving a procedure within the United Nations system to enable these organs to function with minimal expenses. All in all the developing States that have ratified the Convention should not shy away from bringing the Convention into operation.

The coming into operation of the Convention is equally important to the international community as a whole. In the first place it is important for all States to maintain peace in the oceans. The Convention is the only instrument generally accepted internationally. It has set out clearly the rights and obligations of every national and international entity, and it has also set up an elaborate system of peaceful settlement of disputes. In a word, the Convention is an instrument of peace in the oceans.

Furthermore, current and upcoming international initiatives in this field take the Convention as an indispensable framework. For example, the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development and its follow up activities draw heavily on the provisions of the Convention. The results of these initiatives will have a greater impact with the Convention in force.

The theme of this Conference is "Ocean Governance" at all levels: national, regional, and global. It covers many aspects of ocean affairs, the required framework and mechanisms, structures for decision-making at all levels, structures for cooperation at all levels, structures for special areas such as the environment, transfer of technology, marine scientific research, and modes of cooperation and coordination. The agenda has been carefully prepared and all the speakers and discussants are highly qualified and experienced people in the field. I have no doubt in my mind that the results of this Conference will make a great contribution and give a new impetus to the ratification process in order to save the Convention from being dismantled and forgotten. And I believe also it will contribute to the development of new frameworks and mechanisms at national, regional, and international levels for the purpose of achieving better integration and coordination of ocean governance that will be beneficial to all.

Contents - Previous - Next