Category: Conferences

UNCLOS at 40: An Assessment

Recordings of the Sessions now Available!

UNCLOS at 40: An Assessment

29 March 2022, 12.30pm – 6.30pm | 30 March 2022, 8.30am – 5.30pm
Singapore Time | Hybrid Format | Programme | Speakers Profiles


The 1982 United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea was adopted 40 years ago. Today it has 168 State Parties. Ambassador Tommy Koh, the President of the UNCLOS III proclaimed the Convention as the “Constitution for the oceans”. In some 320 articles the Convention covers a myriad of ocean issues ranging from navigation, maritime delimitation, protection of the environment and living resources, marine scientific research and transfer of marine technology. It also created new institutions, new regimes and a comprehensive compulsory dispute settlement process.

In “UNCLOS at 40: An Assessment”, the Centre for International Law (CIL) at the National University of Singapore (NUS) will bring together experts from around the world to reflect upon the last forty years of UNCLOS’ implementation and its continuing relevance as the foundation for the governance of the oceans.


How has UNCLOS addressed the myriad of ocean governance challenges that have emerged since its adoption and since the transformative developments in science and technology?

What are some of the lessons, both positive and negative, the international community can learn from the implementation of UNCLOS over the years?


Opening and Welcome

Keynote Speech

Panel 1 | A Forty-Year Assessment of UNCLOS-created Institutions: Success or Failure
The International Seabed Authority
The Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf
The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea
Interactions between UNCLOS Institutions

Panel 2 | UNCLOS as a Living Instrument for the Next Century
How Does the Law of the Sea Adapt to New Challenges?
1995 UN Fish Stocks Agreement
The BBNJ Negotiations
The Role of Implementing Agreements, with a focus on the BBNJ Agreement

Panel 3 | Forty Years of Compulsory Dispute Settlement
Is the dispute settlement procedure under UNCLOS adequately designed to meet modern challenges?
Prospects for Conciliation as a Dispute Settlement Mechanism under UNCLOS
Have different forums led to fragmentation or harmonization?
Compliance with the decisions of UNCLOS courts or tribunals: An Assessment
25 years of UNCLOS Dispute Settlement – A General Assessment

Panel 4 | UNCLOS and Other Regimes: Harmony or Fragmentation
UNCLOS and International Environmental Law
UNCLOS and the IMO
UNCLOS and Climate Change

Panel 5 | UNCLOS in a Changing World
UNCLOS and Solving the Marine Plastics Crisis
UNCLOS and Part XII on Protection and preservation of the marine environment
Sea Level Rise
Technology and UNCLOS

Panel 6 | UNCLOS and Southeast Asia
The Archipelagic Regime
UNCLOS and the Fisheries Crisis: A Critical Perspective
Straits used for International Navigation
Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships in Southeast Asia

Panel 7 | UNCLOS: A Forty Year Stock-Taking

Closing Remarks

Thank You Remarks