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United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982: A Commentary

Commentary bookcoverJohn Norton Moore, Project Director
Myron H. Nordquist, Series Editor-in-Chief
Satya N. Nandan and Shabtai Rosenne, General Editors

"The Law of the Sea Commentary project stands as a unique contribution to the field of public international law . . . This project will greatly facilitate a more uniform implementation of [the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea], thereby promoting greater international stability." -- Elliot L. Richardson, former Ambassador-at-Large and Special Representative of the President to the Law of the Sea Conference.

The Center's Law of the Sea Commentary Project entails a comprehensive, objective, and authoritative analysis of the development of each of the 320 articles and 9 annexes in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and of relevant provisions in the Final Act of the Conference.

These commentaries are based almost entirely on the formal and informal documentation of the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS III, 1973-1982), coupled, where necessary, with the personal knowledge of editors, contributors, or reviewers, many of whom were principal negotiators and UN personnel who participated in the Conference. Each commentary cites the documentary sources for a given provision, followed by references to the pertinent proposals and and negotiations at UNCLOS III, in a chronological presentation of the evolution of each article. The overall goal is to promote a broader common understanding of the Convention by illuminating the development of each of its provisions.

Over 100 individuals have contributed to the project to date. All participants serve in their individual capacities, and not as representatives of any government or international organization with which they might be affiliated. There are currently participants from 51 countries, and nearly a dozen international agencies involved in preparing, editing or reviewing manuscripts.

Volume 7, featuring an index for the series and the consolidated Convention, was published in 2011. The index is also available in draft form on the CD-rom contained in the Center's 2007 conference proceedings, Law, Science & Ocean Management the Center's 2008 conference proceedings, Legal Challenges in Maritime Security, and the Center's 2009 conference proceedings, Freedom of Seas, Passage Rights and the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention, courtesy of H.E. Satya N. Nandan.

Supplementary Documents, (2012) is now available! It is a soft-cover compendium of materials designed to augment the seven-volume Commentary series. It includes documents on the International Seabed Authority, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, international fisheries agreements associated with the Convention and a section with additional documents and materials.

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Volume I

Introductory Volume: Text of the 1982 Convention and Final Act of UNCLOS III, the Negotiating Process at UNCLOS III, the Work of the Drafting Committee, papers, reports, and documents on law of the sea and UNCLOS III (1985). To order

Volume II

Second Committee: Territorial Sea, Innocent Passage, Straits Used for International Navigation, Archipelagic States, the Exclusive Economic Zone, and the Continental Shelf (1993)

Volume II covers the core of the law of the sea, dealing with maritime areas under national sovereignty or jurisdiction. The topics covered in this volume range from those which were the subject of longstanding debate, such as the breadth of the territorial sea, to the evolution of new regimes such as the exclusive economic zone and recognition of the rights of archipelagic States. In addition, it elaborates on the regime for the continental shelf, including its definition. It also covers navigational issues in these areas, ranging from innocent passage through the territorial sea to a regime of passage in straits used for international navigation. To order

Volume III

Second Committee: High Seas, Regime of Islands, Enclosed or Semi-enclosed Seas, and Right of Access of Land-locked States to and from the Sea and Freedom of Transit (1995)

This volume completes discussion of the articles developed under the auspices of the Second Committee at UNCLOS III. It updates provisions codified in 1958 relating to navigation on the high seas, and addresses the need for conservation and management of high seas living resources. It also sets out general guidelines for cooperation among States in enclosed and semi-enclosed seas, and contains provisions codifying the right of access to landlocked States to and from the sea and their freedom to transit other States in the exercise of that right. To order

Volume IV

Third Committee: Protection and Preservation of the Marine Environment, Marine Scientific Research, and Development and Transfer of Marine Technology (1991)

This volume covers the important work of the Third Committee at UNCLOS III. It deals with articles addressing the prevention, reduction, and control of marine pollution, and principles and guidelines established for the conduct of marine scientific research. It further deals with the development and transfer of marine technology. To order

Volume V

Settlement of Disputes, General and Final Provisions and related Annexes and resolutions (1989)

This volume contains the commentaries on Parts XV, XVI and XVII (articles 279 to 320) of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, together with the related subject matter of Annexes V, VI, VII, VIII and IX, as well as resolutions, I, III and IV contained in Annex I of the Final Act of the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS III), which forms an integral whole with the Convention. To order

Volume VI

First Committee: Seabed Mining, the Area (2002)

This volume deals with Part XI of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (articles 133 to 191) and the related annexes, which, together with resolution II of UNCLOS III and the 1994 Agreement relating to the Implementation of Part XI of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982, set out the regime of "the Area" and provide legal framework governing activities in the Area. Part XI is the largest single part of the Convention and turned out to be the most difficult to negotiate. To order

Volume VII

Consolidated Convention, index and additional documents. (2011).

Volume VII provides the original text of the 1982 convention as fully integrated with the provisions of the 1994 Agreement on the Implementation of Part XI, presenting the consolidated convention in its final form. It also includes an extensive subject index to Volumes I through VI of the series, consolidated tables of cases and treaties, in addition to the one fisheries agreement specifically implementing the Convention. To order

Supplementary Documents

A soft-cover compendium of materials designed to augment the seven-volume Commentary series. Includes documents on the International Seabed Authority, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, international fisheries agreements associated with the Convention and a section with additional documents and materials. (2012). To order

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Volumes I-VII and Supplementary Documents are currently available by contacting the publisher, Brill Academic Publishers/Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, and may also be ordered as a complete set:

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