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 implementation (ILBI) agreement under UNCLOS on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity in 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.


Representatives from universities, think tanks, research institutions, the International Maritime Organization (IMO), international environmental organisations and government organisations.


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The food served at the conference are prepared with no pork or lard used. You may however, request for Halal sets for the lunches and conference dinner if you wish.

Lunch will be held at Tung Lok Signatures Restaurant located next to the conference venue (Level 2 of Orchard Parade Hotel).

The conference buffet dinner will be held at Antica II & III (Level 2 of Orchard Parade Hotel).

Lunch will be held at Black Angus Restaurant (Level 1 of Orchard Parade Hotel). Please select your mains.

Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA)
Participants should be aware that National University of Singapore (NUS) and third parties may be taking photographs and videos during the sessions of the Conference. NUS may use such photos in marketing materials, NUS publications or NUS’ media including social media, and we may identify participants by name. By participating in the sessions it is accepted that all faculty give their consent to NUS to publish, republish or otherwise transmit the images in any medium for all purposes. You waive any right to inspect and approve a finished product or the copy that may be used in connection with an image that was taken, or the use to which it may be applied. NUS and CIL will not be accountable for any claims for remuneration associated with any form of damage, foreseen or unforeseen associated with the use of the images. If you would prefer photographs of yourself NOT to be used in this manner, please inform Geraldine Ng (gerry.ng@nus.edu.sg) as soon as possible.