A Tribute to Satya Nandan

28/02/2020 no comments
Left: Ambassador Satya Nandan of Fiji; right: Ambassador Nandan with Prof Beckman, Professor Jayakumar and Professor Tommy Koh

The NUS Centre for International Law mourns the passing of a special friend and a wonderful human being, Ambassador Satya Nandan of Fiji. He was a special friend of the Centre because of his deep friendship with Professor S Jayakumar, Professor Tommy Koh and Senior Judge Chao Hick Tin, a friendship forged from the early days of the UN Conference on the Law of the Sea.

We wish to pay a tribute to Satya Nandan for his outstanding roles as a master negotiator, an honest broker and a superb problem solver. His contributions to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea included his role as the person who drafted the Single Negotiating Text, for the Second Committee; as the co-chairman of the private negotiating group that produced the text on Straits Used for International Navigation; as the draftsman of the text on Archipelagic States; and as chairman of the negotiating group on the rights of landlocked and geographically disadvantaged states.

In the years after the conclusion of the UN Conference on the Law of the Sea, he continued to play a leadership role in the Implementation of the Convention. For example, he drafted the Agreement relating to the implementation of Part XI of the Convention, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly, in 1994. He also drafted the 1995 Agreement on Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migrating Fish Stocks. He was the founding Secretary-General of the International Seabed Authority, a post he held for 12 years. He was instrumental in establishing the Authority and in putting it on the right course.

We will never forget the several weeks he spent at the Centre in 2015. Our young researchers were thrilled to meet him and to learn from him. As a result of that visit and the extensive interviews with him by the young researchers, the Centre for International Law and the NUS Press will be publishing a book on his contributions to the development of the modern law of the sea. It is a pity that the book will be published posthumously.