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Existing institutional framework and mechanisms
Cooperation and coordination among
Main existing institutions and mechanisms for cooperation and coordination
Satya N. Nandan
As the uses of the oceans expanded rapidly and the need for international cooperation in ocean governance grew stronger, particularly since World War II, international institutions having mandate on various aspects of ocean resources and ocean-related activities, started to proliferate. These institutions mostly dealt with the traditional uses of the oceans such as shipping and navigation, fishing, protection of certain living resources, marine scientific research, and transoceanic communications. Subsequently, more institutions were set up as new needs and problems arose, as in the field of the protection of the marine environment.
Some of these institutions are global and others are regional in the coverage of their competence and/or membership. The mandate of most of these institutions covers certain marine sectors only, and most of them precede the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
The Convention provides the comprehensive framework for law and institutions for all marine resources and uses of the seas. It establishes distinct zones of sovereignty and jurisdiction for coastal States, rules for the high seas and an entirely new regime for the deep seabed beyond the limits of national jurisdiction. It also lays down rights and duties of States for navigation through certain straits, the protection of the marine environment and the conduct of marine scientific research. A delicate two-tier balance is achieved by the Convention: first, among all types of uses and resource exploitation in a comprehensive manner; and second, among various rights and duties of States with respect to such uses and resource exploitation. All these elements of the Convention are finally cemented together by detailed procedures for the compulsory settlement of disputes.
The 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea has generally been accepted by all States as evidenced by the practice of States and international organizations, the only exception being certain provisions of part XI of the Convention dealing with the regime for deep seabed resources.
With regard to the institutional aspects, the Convention confirms, and in many cases expands, the tasks of existing international organizations with a view to assisting States to implement its provisions and especially to reap the individual and collective benefits from the Convention for sustainable development of the oceans and their resources. A number of international organizations have already adjusted themselves to the new responsibilities under the Convention, and in addition, several new institutions have been created. A short summary of activities of the main organizations and coordinating mechanisms are set out later in this chapter.
Some of the new institutional developments reflect more and more the need for a comprehensive approach to the management of oceans and their resources under the Convention, as illustrated by the activities of the new UN Secretariat Unit, the Office for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, responsible for promoting the widespread acceptance and consistent application of the Convention, as well as those of the new trans-sectoral institutions such as that for the wider Indian Ocean region.
Another new trend to be noted is the growing emphasis being placed on ocean-related activities by some of the global and regional institutions, such as the World Bank, the United Nations Development Programme, the European community, and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which traditionally have not been so active in those areas.
Looking back on the evolution of international organizations in the field of ocean affairs in the post-World War II era, it is noticed that their functions and activities grew most vigorously in the 1970s and early 1980s. This was due most probably to the two epoch-making events of truly global dimensions, that is, the 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment and the (1973-1982) Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea which resulted in the adoption in 1982 of the comprehensive Convention. It appears now, however, that institutional developments have come to a somewhat stagnant period. One reason for this may be the fact that all basic institutional needs have already been filled. Also, the existing programmes and activities of international organizations may have become fairly comprehensive in terms of the needs perceived by the international community in the 1980s. These organizations are inherently sectoral in their approaches to maritime issues.
Nevertheless, in view of the new challenges posed particularly by environmental problems, and in order to achieve sustainable development of ocean resources for the benefit of the entire mankind, it is now necessary to revitalize international institutions and their activities. The 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development was a timely occasion for stimulating such revitalization. An important factor to be taken into account in such a process is the need to narrow the gap between policymaking and actions which appear to be growing in recent years.
In addition to the efforts of individual institutions to reinvigorate themselves, existing mechanisms for coordinating their activities must be strengthened and new mechanisms for securing more integrated and comprehensive coordination must be explored. The latter requirement is particularly crucial in the context of ocean governance since, as recognized in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the "problems of ocean space are closely interrelated and need to be considered as a whole."
In order to improve the coordinating mechanism, it would be necessary first to expand and institutionalize the current ad hoc interagency consultations convened by UN/OALOS and UNEP at global level. These are, however, limited to the level of secretariats of international organizations. To ensure a more effective and integrated coordination, it would be advisable to start the process at the fundamental policy-making stage. For this purpose, it is suggested that a new global forum be created within the United Nations General Assembly framework, where all ocean issues can be discussed periodically with the participation of all relevant international institutions. The forum could either be special Assembly meetings or a Committee, or expanded meetings of the current plenary debate on the law of the sea. It is also desirable that similar integrated mechanisms be established at appropriate regional or subregional levels.
Cooperation and coordination among institutions
The international institutions described later in this chapter have developed various degrees of cooperative relationships and coordination between their activities. Numerous projects, programmes, action plans, etc. are being worked out and executed by two or more institutions. This is particularly true among agencies and bodies within the United Nations family, but such cooperation is also common among UN and non-UN institutions. It should also be pointed out that those non-governmental organizations (NGOs) which are active in ocean affairs and ocean-related science often take part in such cooperative endeavours.
Cooperation and coordination among institutions are frequent features specially in the fields of large-scale scientific research and monitoring, the protection of the marine environment, the conservation and development of living resources, as well as the development of shipping and related industry and facilities. In some cases, United Nations agencies and bodies conclude agreements, in the form of memoranda of understanding, in order to ensure long-term cooperative relationships.
As far as the global-level coordination is concerned, two types of mechanisms exist currently: general and specialized or sectoral. Those belonging to the latter are the Inter-Secretariat Committee on Scientific Programmes Relating to Oceanography (ICSPRO), and GESAMP, both of which deal primarily with scientific matters, and the periodic Inter-Agency Consultations on Oceans and Coastal Areas Programme convened by UNEP to review the ocean and coastal area programmes it sponsors. Seven such consultations have been held since 1976. The only existing global mechanism of a general nature is the ad hoc Inter-Agency Consultations on Ocean Affairs convened by UN/OALOS following a recommendation by ICSPRO - two such consultations have been held since 1988. At the regional level, no mechanism exists for generally coordinating the activities of all relevant institutions within a region, nor is there any systematic arrangement for coordinating activities among two or more regions.
Main existing institutions and mechanisms for cooperation and coordination
There are currently about a score of global institutions which are exclusively or partially engaged in activities concerning some aspects of ocean management in a broad sense. Most of them belong to the United Nations family. The nature of these activities will be reviewed below in two groups: (i) five major agencies and bodies, which are devoted exclusively to, or have a substantial component on, marine affairs; and (ii) others, whose activities cover some aspects of marine affairs. Then the one global institution outside the UN family will be discussed.
Major UN agencies and bodies
INTERNATIONAL MARITIME ORGANIZATION (IMO). The first global institution established to deal uniquely with marine affairs and marine environmental protection. It was created in 1959 as a specialized agency of the United Nations in accordance with the terms of the Convention on the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization of 1948. It changed its name to International Maritime Organization in 1982.
IMO's main objective is to facilitate cooperation among States on technical matters affecting international shipping, in order to achieve the highest practicable standards of maritime safety and efficiency in navigation. It has also a special responsibility for safety of life at sea, and for the protection of the marine environment through prevention of pollution of the sea caused by ships and other craft.
Among the main committees of IMO, the Maritime Safety Committee is responsible for a variety of technical work, including the safety of navigation, radio communication, life-saving arrangements, search and rescue, ship design and equipment, fire protection, standards of training and watchkeeping, containers and cargoes, and the carriage of dangerous goods. The Marine Environment Protection Committee is engaged in administering and coordinating the activities concerning the prevention and control of marine pollution. A unique aspect of the Committee is that it functions as the secretariat of a number of treaties which have been adopted under IMO sponsorship, and thus the Committee is attended not only by the members of IMO but also by those non-members who are parties to such treaties. The Legal Committee considers any legal matters within the mandate of the Organization and prepares draft legal instruments for the Council. The activities of the Technical Cooperation Committee are particularly important for sustainable development in the marine sector, considering among other matters, the establishment of directives and guidelines for the execution and review of the programme of assistance to developing countries in maritime transport. IMO sponsors the World Maritime University in Malmö, Sweden, as part of its technical cooperation activities.
FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION (FAO) OF THE UNITED NATIONS. FAO was established in 1945 as a specialized agency with the aims, among others, of raising levels of nutrition and standards of living; improving the production, processing, marketing and distribution of all food and agricultural products from farms, forests, and fisheries; promoting rural development and improving the living conditions of rural populations; and eliminating hunger by these means.
One of the five major committees, the Committee on Fisheries (COFI), reviews FAO's work in the field of fisheries, conducts periodic general reviews of international fishery problems and appraises possible solutions thereto, discusses other specific matters relating to fisheries and makes recommendations as appropriate. Much of FAO's fishery activity is carried out through its regional commissions, and this will be discussed below under "Regional institutions." COFI also cooperates with a number of regional fishery bodies that are not formally part of FAO.
UNITED NATIONS ENVIRONMENT PROGRAMME (UNEP). In 1972, taking account of the "Action Plan" adopted by the United Nations Conference on Human Environment held in Stockholm, the General Assembly of the United Nations established four new mechanisms. These were: a Governing Council of UNEP; a Secretariat to serve as a focal point for environmental action and coordination within the United Nations system; an Environmental Fund to provide for additional financing for environmental programmes on a voluntary basis; and an Environment Coordination Board, to be chaired by the Executive Director of UNEP, within the framework of the Administrative Committee on Coordination, in order to provide for the most efficient coordination of environment programmes within the United Nations system.
UNEP has been a catalyst for the establishment of ten Regional Seas Programmes, covering the Mediterranean, the Kuwait region, the Red Sea, the wider Caribbean, the Atlantic coast of West and Central Africa, the eastern African seaboard, the Pacific coast of South America, the islands of the South Pacific, the east Asian region and the south Asian seas. Over 120 countries take part in these programmes. Each programme is tailored to the specific needs of its participants, but is made up of similar components, that is, an Action Plan for cooperation, research, monitoring, pollution control, and resource development; a framework convention embodying general commitments; and detailed protocols dealing with specific issues, such as oil spills, dumping, emergency cooperation, and protected areas. Funds were initially provided by UNEP and then by a trust fund set up by the governments involved.
In the field of the conservation and management of marine living resources, mention should be made of the Global Plan of Action for the Conservation, Management and Utilization of Marine Mammals which UNEP initiated in 1977 in cooperation with FAO.
UNEP has also developed principles and guidelines on a number of ocean-related topics, including the control of pollution from land-based sources and seabed activities, coastal tourism development, shared natural resources, and environmental impact assessment. In addition to implementing the Governing Council's decisions, the UNEP Secretariat provides secretariat services to: the 1973 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES); the 1989 Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal (Baser Convention); as well as some of the regional seas agreements, which have been adopted under the UNEP sponsorship.
INTERGOVERNMENTAL OCEANOGRAPHIC COMMISSION (IOC). IOC was created in 1960 by the UNESCO General Conference in order to promote scientific investigation of the nature and resources of the oceans with the aim of understanding the oceans better and providing for optimum utilization of their resources. It is a body having functional autonomy within UNESCO, a division of its secretariat providing secretariat service to the IOC.
IOC has two regional subcommissions, one for the Caribbean and another for the western Pacific. Additional regional committees have been formed for the central Indian Ocean, the north and central western Indian Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and the central eastern Atlantic.
IOC is mandated to define those problems, the solutions of which require international cooperation in scientific investigation of the oceans, and develop, recommend, and coordinate international programmes for such investigations. It is also responsible for promoting the exchange of oceanographic data, and developing assistance programmes in marine science and technology, as well as promoting, observing and monitoring systems on the properties and quality of the marine environment.
UNITED NATIONS DIVISION OF OCEAN AFFAIRS AND THE LAW OF THE SEA (UN/OALOS). Initially established as the secretariat of the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea, UN/OALOS has since 1983, been carrying out the tasks entrusted to the Secretary-General as a consequence of the adoption of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and the related General Assembly resolutions. Through subsequent organizational and programmatic consolidation of marine affairs activities within the United Nations, the organization's diverse efforts in marine affairs are now integrated in, and coordinated through, the "core office" of UN/OALOS.
Among the major activities of the office are: the promotion of uniform and consistent application of the Convention and the provision of advice and information to States; the servicing of the Preparatory Commission for the International Seabed Authority and for the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea; the provision of assistance to States for marine policy development and integrated ocean and coastal zone management in the context of the comprehensive ocean regime; and the provision of support to United Nations agencies and bodies and the harmonization of marine affairs in the context of the Convention.
Other UN organizations and bodies
WORLD METEOROLOGICAL ORGANIZATION (WMO). WMO commenced its operations in 1951 as successor to the International Meteorological Organization, with the mandate of facilitating international cooperation in various aspects of meteorological and related services and observations, as well as furthering the application of meteorology to aviation, shipping, water problems, and other human activities. In the marine sector, WMO is responsible for the coordination and promotion of the provision by Member States of predicted, current and climatological information of weather and sea conditions in all ocean and sea areas; the study of marine climate and air-surface interaction phenomenon; and the collection and exchange of data.
INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY (IAEA). IAEA began its operation in 1957 with a broad mandate in the field of peaceful uses of atomic energy and the establishment of an environment safe from pollution by nuclear substances, and marine scientific research as well as the development and transfer of related technology. It has established in Monaco an international laboratory for studying radioactivity in the sea, and to train scientists and technicians for Member States. It gives guidelines and recommendations to individual States and parties to relevant conventions regarding the prevention of marine pollution by radioactive materials.
UNITED NATIONS INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATION (UNIDO). UNIDO existed as an autonomous body in the United Nations Secretariat from 1966, until 1986 when it became a specialized agency. Its main objectives include the assistance to developing countries for the development of their industries, particularly to achieve the full utilization of locally available natural and human resources. It has provided technical assistance in such marine-related projects as the construction of fishing vessels, the establishment of fish processing plants, and the development of fish distribution networks.
INTERNATIONAL LABOUR ORGANTSATION (ILO). Originally established in 1919 by the constitution forming part of the Treaty of Versailles, ILO became a specialized agency of the United Nations in 1946. The aims of ILO are to further world programmes directed towards full employment and raising the standard of living, provision of training facilities, establishing policies in regard to working conditions, etc. To these ends, it establishes policy guidelines and provides technical cooperation programmes and projects, and adopts international standards and supervises their application.
The activities of ILO also cover seafarers, dockworkers, and fishermen, particularly conditions of their employment, recruitment, welfare, training, and safety. In addition to generally applicable instruments, several conventions and recommendations have been adopted on certain specific questions regarding the working conditions and training of ocean-related workers.
WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION (WHO). WHO was established as a specialized agency of the United Nations in 1948, with the objective defined as "the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health." The marine-related activities of WHO have been primarily in the control of the quality of coastal waters, and hence, the prevention and control of land-based sources of pollution.
UNITED NATIONS CONFERENCE ON TRADE AND DEVELOPMENT (UNCTAD). Created in 1964 as a permanent organ of the General Assembly, UNCTAD has the main tasks of promoting international trade, particularly between countries at different stages of development, with a view to accelerating the economic growth of developing countries; formulating and implementing principles and policies on international trade and related problems of economic development; and facilitating the coordination of activities of other UN system organizations in the field.
The activities of UNCTAD in the marine sector have included the improvement of port operations and connected facilities; the establishment or expansion of merchant marines of developing countries; the promotion of technological progress in shipping; and the preparation of international legislation on shipping and related questions. The Committee on Shipping of the Trade and Development Board is responsible for many of the activities in these areas.
INTERNATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATION UNION (ITU). Originally founded in 1865, ITU took its present title in 1932, and became a specialized agency of the United Nations in 1947. ITU's main functions in the marine sector are: to adopt regulations governing marine radio communications, including distress calls; to coordinate the information necessary for the effective operation of international maritime radio communication services; and to allocate special frequencies for transmission of oceanographic and meteorological data.
INTERNATIONAL HYDROGRAPHIC ORGANIZATION (IHO). Founded in 1921 as the International Hydrographic Bureau, IHO assumed its current name in 1967. The main objectives of IHO are the coordination of the activities of national hydrographic offices, the securing of the greatest possible uniformity in nautical charts and documents, and the promotion of efficient methods for hydrographic surveys.
GROUP OF EXPERTS ON THE SCIENTIFIC ASPECTS OF MARINE POLLUTION (GESAMP). Established in 1969, GESAMP is currently sponsored jointly by the UN, UNEP, FAO, UNESCO, WHO, WMO, IMO and IAEA. The experts are appointed by the sponsoring organizations in their individual capacities. In addition to the periodic report on the state of the marine environment, GESAMP gives advice on scientific aspects of marine environmental protection at the request of sponsoring organizations.
UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME (UNDP). UNDP began its operations in 1966 pursuant to a General Assembly resolution which consolidated two earlier funds for development. Its mandate is to assist developing countries to accelerate their development by providing assistance geared to their development objectives, with a view to promoting their economic and political independence and ensuring the attainment of higher levels of development for their entire populations. It administers and coordinates the great majority of the technical assistance provided through the UN system.
UNDP activities in the marine sector have included numerous projects relating to fisheries, particularly those executed by FAO. They also include a number of projects in the fields of marine scientific research and the protection of the marine environment. UNDP also gives assistance to the World Maritime University.
THE WORLD BANK GROUP. The World Bank Group is comprised of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the International Development Association (IDA), established respectively in 1946,1956 and 1960. IBRD's main function is to promote the international flow of capital for productive purposes, and in particular to finance reform programmes which will lead to economic growth in its less developed member countries. IFC invests in productive private or partly governmental enterprises. IDA has similar objectives, but its financing is on more concessionary terms.
The loans provided by the Group, particularly IBRD, in the marine sector have been mainly for fishing and related activities and infrastructure, mineral resource exploitation, protection of the marine environment, aviation and shipping, as well as communication and related installations.
In 1990, a Global Environment Facility (GEF) was established, to be run jointly by IBRD, UNDP and UNEP, as a three-year pilot programme to provide resources to help finance innovative projects affecting the global environment. One of the four areas selected for the operation of GEF is the protection of international watercourses, including contingency planning for marine oil spills, and improvement of reception facilities for removing ballast from ships in ports.
Global institutions outside the UN system
INTERNATIONAL WHALING COMMISSION (IWC). IWC was established in 1948 with the entry into force of the International Whaling Convention, which had been concluded in order to provide for the proper conservation of whale stocks and thus make possible the orderly development of the whaling industry.
The main task of IWC is to keep under review, and revise as needed, the conservation measures laid down in the Convention governing the conduct of whaling. IWC is also responsible for promoting and carrying out studies and research, collecting and analyzing statistics, publishing reports, and providing information on the maintenance and increase of stocks. Recent important measures of IWC include the moratorium on all commercial whaling since its decision in 1982.
Institutions having responsibilities for aspects of ocean affairs at the regional level take many forms with differing mandates. Some are devoted exclusively to ocean-related activities; others conduct such activities as part of their much broader functions. While one regional institution has a comprehensive trans-sectoral mandate in marine affairs, all other existing bodies for ocean affairs are engaged in one or a few sectors only.
Some organizations cited here are not regional in a geographical sense, but are groups of States with common interests or with special legal or political ties. Such organizations are also discussed here since they are not global in membership nor in mandate.
Comprehensive Marine Affairs Organization
Following the first Conference on Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation in Marine Affairs in the Indian Ocean in 1987, the only existing comprehensive regional institution in ocean affairs, the Indian Ocean Marine Affairs Cooperation Conference (IOMAC), started its work as a conference, with a standing committee and a secretariat, aimed at facilitating implementation of the new ocean regime under the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea among coastal and hinterland States of the Indian Ocean.
In September 1990, the Second Ministerial Conference adopted the Agreement on the Organization for Indian Ocean Marine Affairs Cooperation (IOMAC), which has the effect of turning the conference mechanism into a permanent organization. The new Organization's objectives are to promote cooperation among the States of the region, bearing in mind the ocean regime embodied in the Law of the Sea Convention; to provide a forum where the States in the region and other interested States could consider the economic uses of the Indian Ocean, its resources and related activities; and to enhance the economic and social development of the States in the region through integration of ocean-related activities in their respective development processes, and further a policy of integrated ocean management through dialogue and cooperative international action.
The competence of the Organisation is extensive, covering marine science, ocean services, and technology; living and non-living resources; ocean law, policy and management; marine transport and communication; marine environment; and "other fields relevant to cooperation in marine affairs."
Specialized marine affairs organizations and bodies
FISHERIES. In the field of fisheries, there are six regional bodies established by FAO, which provides secretariat services. These are: the Indo-Pacific Fishery Commission (IPFC); General Fisheries Council for the Mediterranean (GFCM), covering the Mediterranean, the Black Sea and connecting waters; the Regional Fisheries Advisory Commission for the Southwest Atlantic (CARPAS); the Fishery Committee for the Eastern Southwest Atlantic (CECAF); the Indian Ocean Fishery Commission (IOFC); and the Western Central Atlantic Fishery Commission (WECAFC). These bodies share, by and large, the common objectives of promoting, coordinating and assisting national and regional programmes of research and development aimed at rational utilization of the resources; formulating measures for the management and conservation of the resources; and encouraging exchange of information and studies as well as training.
Apart from the FAO-affiliated bodies, the following are the principal bodies dealing with fisheries:
1. For the Atlantic Ocean and adjacent seas: the North-East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC), the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO), the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO), the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), and the International Commission for the Southeast Atlantic Fisheries (ICSEAF). A new Regional Convention on Fisheries Cooperation among African States Bordering the Atlantic Ocean was adopted on 5 July 1991 by 22 African States at Dakar, Senegal, establishing a Conference for Ministers, with a view to promoting active cooperation for achieving harmonized policies regarding fishery resources exploitation, conservation, and processing.
2. For the Pacific Ocean: The International North Pacific Fisheries Commission (INPFC), the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC), the Council of the Eastern Pacific Tuna Fishing Agreement (CEPTFA), the Eastern Pacific Tuna Fishing Organization (OAPO), the South Pacific Permanent Commission (PCSP) (which is also active recently in the protection of the marine environment), and the South Pacific Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA).
For other regions, a Latin American Organization for the Development of Fisheries (OLDEPESCA) has been established among members of the Latin American Economic System. Another unique body is the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) covering the resources in the area south of the Antarctic convergence.
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION. As it was stated earlier, UNEP has been a catalyst in the promotion of the protection of the marine environment in various regions of the world. Apart from the UNEP regional seas bodies mentioned above, the principal regional bodies and mechanisms in this field are the following:
1. The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission (Helsinki Commission), which was established in 1980 with the entry into force of the Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area. The Commission is responsible for preparing proposals and recommendations to the Convention parties for measures to prevent and reduce pollution and protect the Baltic Sea area environment from all sources of pollution.
2. The Oslo and Paris Commissions, which were established, respectively, by the Convention for the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping from Ships and Aircraft (the Oslo Convention), and the Convention for the Prevention of Marine Pollution from Land-based Sources (the Paris Convention). The Commissions, covering the same geographical area, normally conduct their work jointly and are in fact considering a merger. In addition to the two conventions, the Commissions also administer the Agreement for Cooperation in Dealing with Pollution of the North Sea by Oil.
3. The International Conference for the Protection of the North Sea, with the main objective of protecting the marine environment of the North Sea from all sources, which first met in 1984 and subsequently in 1987 and 1990. The Conference reviews measures taken with regard to dumping and incineration at sea; monitors other activities affecting the health of the marine environment; and adopts an agenda for common actions in reducing pollutants, in enforcing obligations, and in advancing scientific research.
4. The Regional Organization for the Protection of the Marine Environment (ROPME), which was established in 1982 among the states bordering the Gulf, has the mandate of protecting the marine environment, implementing regional action plans, applying the Kuwait Regional Convention, and coordinating and cooperating in cases of pollution by oil or other harmful substances in the marine environment resulting from emergencies.
SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH. In the field of purely scientific investigation of the oceans and resources, an International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) was founded in 1902 to promote and coordinate such international investigations in the North Atlantic and adjacent seas, and provide scientific information and advice to governments, as well as regional fishery managements, and pollution control bodies. The original constitutional arrangement was replaced in 1968 by the Convention for the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea.
A similar body, the International Commission for the Scientific Exploration of the Mediterranean Sea, was created in 1919 for the Mediterranean and the tributary seas.
A North Pacific version of ICES has been envisaged and in 1990, Canada, China, Japan, United States and the USSR agreed to set up the North Pacific Marine Science Organization (PICKS). Its functions include the exchange and evaluation of data and information on the status of stocks, the collaborative studies on the health of the marine environment, facilitating collaboration in research on the role of the ocean in modulating weather and climate, and the planning and coordination of multinational oceanographic and fishery research programmes.
In the South Pacific region, the South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC) has been active in investigating the resource potential for coastal and offshore minerals, coordinating marine geological and geophysical research, and providing information on the physical environment of coastal and nearshore areas, for various purposes. Originally established in 1972 as the Committee for Coordination of Joint Prospecting for Mineral Resources in South Pacific Offshore Areas (COOP/SOPAC) under the sponsorship of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (ESCAP), it became an independent body in 1984 and adopted its current name in 1989.
Regional Economic Commissions of the United Nations
The Economic and Social Council has established five regional economic commissions: the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE), the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), and the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA). The commissions are subject to general supervision of ECOSOC, but are empowered to make recommendations directly to member governments, with broad mandates for the economic and social development in the region concerned. Activities in the marine sector play important roles in some of these commissions, particularly ESCAP and ECLAC.
Organizations for economic cooperation and integration
EUROPEAN ECONOMIC COMMUNITY (EEC). EEC has the competence over fisheries in the exclusive economic or fishery zones established by its members. Under its common Fisheries Policy, EEC manages the fisheries within the zones, regulates the fish marketing and concludes agreement with non-member countries. EEC has established special cooperative links with the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) through the Lomé Conventions, which covers the fields of fisheries development and environmental protection, the most recent one being Lomé IV Convention concluded in 1989.
ORGANIZATION FOR ECONOMIC CO-OPERATION AND DEVELOPMENT (OECD). Established in 1961 as an institution for promoting worldwide economic expansion and the highest sustainable economic growth and employment, OECD, mainly through its Fisheries Committee, coordinates the activities and policies of Member States in the exploitation of living resources, and reviews their fishery policies, fish trade and markets. OECD also assists in the development of policies with regard to hazardous wastes and their disposal.
CARIBBEAN COMMUNITY (CARICOM). CARICOM has been stressing the significance the Law of the Sea Convention as the basis for strengthening cooperation in its region. Two standing committees, one on fisheries and the other on transportation, are active in the marine sector.
ORGANISATION OF AFRICAN UNITY (OAU). OAU had an important role to play in the 1970s in formulating African positions on the law of the sea, particularly with regard to the exclusive economic zone. In recent years, it has been active in the development of fisheries and the control of transboundary movement of hazardous wastes, an important pathway of which is the sea.
COMMONWEALTH SECRETARIAT. As an association of 49 States, mostly developing, the Commonwealth Secretariat has created the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Cooperation and the Technical Assistance Group to provide assistance to its developing members in the areas of fisheries, access agreements and offshore petroleum contracts, and pollution control. It is also promoting integrated coastal and ocean management.
ASSOCIATION OF SOUTH-EAST ASIAN NATIONS (ASEAN). ASEAN has been giving a great deal of attention to the protection of the marine environment, for that purpose setting up such bodies as the ASEAN Senior Officials on Environment, the Expert Group on Environment, the Coordinating Body on the Seas of East Asia, and the Committee on Science and Technology Working Group on Marine Science. An ASEAN Committee on Transportation and Communication promotes collaborative efforts in the area of shipping and ports. Its Committee on Food, Agriculture and Forestry is also responsible for fisheries.
ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES (OAS). One of the goals of OAS, which is a general forum for economic, political, and social cooperation, is to promote and strengthen local capabilities for managing natural resources, mapping and baseline studies, tourism development, etc., in the coastal and ocean areas. It provides advisory services and training in these and other related fields.
ORGANIZATION OF EASTERN CARIBBEAN STATES (OECS). OECS has a wide mandate ranging from defence to economic integration. In the marine sector, it has been harmonizing fisheries legislation, developing regional mechanism for fisheries management, and promoting regional agreements for foreign access to fisheries.
The significance and cost of ratification of the law of the sea convention 1982
Significance and urgency of ratification
Financial obligations and cost of ratification
When UNCLOS III adopted the Convention on the Law of the Sea in December 1982, it was viewed largely as a codifying Convention which, however, also provided for the regulation of almost every aspect of maritime activity.1 The Convention has reached a crossroads in that it has already received over two-thirds of the required 60 instruments of ratification or accession. It is, however, regrettable that almost all industrialized countries have so far refused to ratify. An overwhelming majority of those who have hitherto ratified are developing countries.
The international community is, indeed, at the crossroads in so far as orderly management of the seas is concerned. It is the function of law to create order, to avoid conflict and to provide for the resolution of conflicts in accordance with the principles and norms of the law and in due process thereof. The Convention on the Law of the Sea was intended to conform to that universal acceptance of the function of law. It is therefore vital that the Convention becomes legally binding, even if the entry into force is brought about through the ratification or accession mainly of developing countries.
The function of law in respect of resolution of conflicts has been emphasized above. However, it is equally important to bear in mind that consensus too must be arrived at in accordance with the due process of law. The rejection of the Convention by industrialized countries, merely because of a handful of the provisions - in part XI - would not only erode the confidence which the members of the family of nations have hitherto placed in multilateral negotiations but would pose a grave and severe setback to the process of the progressive development and codification of international law. It would be particularly unfortunate at this time when the United Nations has embarked on the Decade of International Law.
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