Press Releases

                                                                                                                            26 May 2004

    International Seabed Authority’s Work Shows that Multilateral Approaches Can Be Effective, Secretary-General Says in Message to Kingston Meeting

    NEW YORK, 25 May (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the message of Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the commemorative meeting marking the tenth anniversary of the International Seabed Authority, which was delivered today in Kingston, Jamaica, by Ralph Zacklin, Assistant Secretary-General for Legal Affairs:

    It gives me great pleasure to send my greetings to this commemorative meeting.

    The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea is a constitution for the world’s oceans, and as such is a milestone for the rule of law and for the United Nations.  Since its adoption in 1982, and its entry into force in 1994, the Convention has provided both unique legal legitimacy and a solid practical framework for guiding State behaviour in the world’s oceans, managing the diverse challenges associated with ocean space and its uses, and settling the disputes that inevitably arise.

    The International Seabed Authority has played a key role in these efforts. As one of three important institutions established by the Convention, along with the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea and the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, the Authority is the only institution through which States parties organize and control activities -- in particular the exploration and exploitation of mineral resources -- in the area beyond the limits of national jurisdiction. These resources are, under the Convention, the “common heritage of mankind”, and thus the Authority has strived to ensure that they benefit all people. The Authority has also focused on environmental protection and conservation, since the more we learn about the areas covered by the Authority, the more we see that they are rich in marine biodiversity.

    This ceremony would be incomplete without a word of tribute to Mr. Satya Nandan, the distinguished international lawyer and first Secretary-General of the Authority. His contribution to the codification and development of the modern law of the sea is significant and outstanding.  And it was he who initiated the dialogue that overcame problems that had hindered the participation of industrialized countries in the Convention.

    Oceans affairs continue to be a critical part of the world’s quest to achieve sustainable development.  On this occasion, I would like to congratulate the International Seabed Authority for its diligent and inspiring work over the past decade, and for showing that multilateral approaches to global challenges can be effective, equitable and enduring. Please accept my best wishes on this anniversary.

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