Activities Carried Out by the UN-Nippon Foundation Pogramme Fellows 2014-2015 between 9-13 June 2014

[dropcap]W[/dropcap]eek 10 was a busy week for the Fellows. It coincided with the holding of the 24th Meeting of State Parties to UNCLOS between 9 – 13 of June 2014 at the UN Headquarters. The Meeting provided the Fellows with a great and direct opportunity to witness the discussions of State Parties about the latest updates on UNCLOS and its three institutions, which the Fellows have been learning and researching about since they arrived in New York. For this occasion, the Fellows were divided into groups to take notes for the 17 Agenda items that were discussed and covered during the Meeting.
On day one (Monday), the Fellows attended the opening of the Meeting in which a new president was elected, and State Parties agreed on the organization of work and agenda items. In the afternoon, the UN Secretary General joined the Meeting and delivered a speech on the Commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the entry into force of UNCLOS and World Oceans Day 2014. He noted in his speech the importance and contribution of UNCLOS in maintaining peace and security, and called on State Parties to ensure the oceans can sustain us in the future. Later in that day, the Fellows were invited to a reception that was organized to mark the 20th anniversary of the entry into force of UNCLOS and World Oceans Day. During the event the UN Legal Counsel referred to the Fellows in his speech, and they had the opportunity to engage with a large number of people who are working in oceans affairs and the law of the sea, as well as watch the announcement of the winning photos of the Annual World Oceans Day Oceanic Photo Competition.
On Tuesday, besides following the interesting discussions and elections of the 7 members of the Tribunal of the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) that were taking place at the Meeting of State Parties, the Fellows were privileged to have a presentation delivered to them in the DOALOS Conference Room by the Chairman of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS), Professor Larry Awosika, who provided the Fellows with a comprehensive picture of Article 76 of UNCLOS, the work of the CLCS, the current challenges, and statistics of the submissions and recommendations. The Fellows who are writing about the continental shelf in their thesis took this opportunity to ask the Chairman of the CLCS to shed light on issues that are of interest to them.
On Wednesday, the Fellows had the chance to follow the ongoing debate among State Parties about the budget of ITLOS and the different views in this regard. Having realized that agreement could not be reached in the plenary, the President transferred the discussion to an informal setting and held consultations with each group separately with the aim to reach a compromise. Based on those consultations, the President introduced a proposal which all State Parties to UNCLOS eventually accepted.
On Thursday, another election was held which the Fellows had the opportunity to witness as part of the Meeting of State Parties’ Agenda. It was the election of one member to the CLCS to replace the member who resigned at the beginning of the year. In addition to that and other interesting discussions of the Meeting, the Fellows received a presentation by the Legal Adviser of the International Seabed Authority (ISA), Mr. Michael Lodge, in the DOALOS Conference Room. Mr. Lodge presented the activities carried out by the ISA and the types of contracts it has signed so far. He also talked about the regulatory work the ISA is doing to protect the marine environment in the Area. The presentation was followed by a discussion with the Fellows who raised a number of interesting questions regarding the work and activities of the ISA, and the protection of environment and biodiversity in the sites of exploration.
Friday, the last day of week 10, also marked the conclusion of the 24th Meeting of State Parties to UNCLOS, as well as the note-taking by the Fellows, under the agenda items assigned to them. During this day, the Fellows followed the general and interesting statements delivered by State Parties under Item 17 of the Agenda on a number of issues related to ocean affairs and the law of the sea. Also, the Fellows had another final presentation by the Registrar of ITLOS, Mr. Philippe Gautier, who provided them with an overview of the settlement of disputes mechanisms contained in UNCLOS, and the jurisdiction conferred to ITLOS to settle these disputes. Similarly to previous presentations, the Fellows had the opportunity to closely understand the work of the third institution established under UNCLOS, and posed a number of questions to the presenter for the aim to know more about this important body.

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