Centre for International Law

High Seas Governance: Gaps and Challenges

The international conference on High Seas Governance: Gaps and Challenges is held in conjunction with the Singapore Maritime Week 2017 (SMW). SMW is the leading maritime event in Singapore driven by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore. SMW gathers the international maritime community in Singapore for a week of conferences, dialogues, exhibitions and social events in celebration of all things maritime. These events reflect the vibrancy and diversity of Singapore as a major international maritime centre.




The 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) is one of the most significant accomplishments of the international community in the 20th century. UNCLOS establishes a comprehensive set of principles and rules that are intended to regulate all uses of the sea and the exploration and exploitation of its resources in all areas of ocean space. UNCLOS is often referred to as “a constitution for the oceans” and has been almost universally accepted. As indicated in its preamble, UNCLOS is based on the fundamental idea that the problems of the oceans are closely interrelated and must be addressed as a whole. In most respects, UNCLOS has met the test of time and is as relevant today as it was when it entered into force in 1994.

Steps are being taken to address some of the gaps in the legal regime established in UNCLOS. In 2015, the United Nations General Assembly decided to develop an international legally binding instrument (ILBI) under UNCLOS on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ). A Preparatory Committee has been established to make substantive recommendations on the elements of a draft text. These negotiations are commonly referred to as the BBNJ negotiations.

Please click here to download the full eBrochure and programme.
There is no conference fee for this event but registration is required to secure your seat.

dAmico ship

Source: d’Amico ship High Endeavour on Singapore Straits


In this conference we will explore some of the gaps in the governance of the high seas in UNCLOS. We will examine the relationship between UNCLOS and other existing international instruments and mechanisms that protect the sensitive marine environment, and also explore trends in environmental policy and governance. Some of the issues we address in this conference may also be discussed in the BBNJ negotiations. Chatham House Rule applies at the conference.


From NUS Centre for International Law
Robert BECKMAN, Head, Ocean Law and Policy Programme
J Ashley ROACH, Visiting Senior Principal Research Fellow
Youna LYONS, Senior Research Fellow
Anthony WETHERALL, Senior Research Fellow

From Distinguished Institutions
Eva Bettina BOSCHEN, PhD Associate, Netherlands Institute for the Law of the Sea, Utrecht University
Aldo CHIRCOP, Professor of Law, Canada Research Chair in Maritime Law & Policy, Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University
Nick GASKELL, Professor of Maritime and Commercial Law, Marine and Shipping Law Unit (MASLU); TC Beirne School of Law; The University of Queensland
Günther HANDL, Professor, Tulane University Law School
Nicholas MAVRIAS, Senior Claims Executive, The Standard Club Asia Ltd
Nilüfer ORAL, Professor, Istanbul Bilgi University
Erik RØSÆG, Professor, Scandinavian Institute of Maritime Law, Oslo
David SANTILLO, Honorary Research Fellow (Greenpeace), University of Exeter
Karen Nadine SCOTT, Head of the School of Law, University of Canterbury
Robin WARNER, Professor, Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security (ANCORS), University of Wollongong


Representatives from universities, think tanks, research institutions, international organisations and governments.


The Orchard Parade Hotel is pleased to extend special corporate rates for all guests attending this event. For room reservations, please download the hotel reservation form found here.

Hotel reservation form
  • Rates are with effect now until 30th April 2017 and are subject to availability.
  • Rates are subjected to 10% service charge and 7% government prevailing tax.


Registration for the conference is closed.