MINISTER of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade A J Nicholson has noted the need to have information on the Convention on the Law of the Sea and issues related to oceans and seas included in the secondary school curriculum.
"We need to let our young people know of the importance of the seas, Law of the Sea and how it relates to the International Seabed Authority," he said.
The minister was speaking at the media launch of the essay competition for the commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) on October 11.
"Teachers and teachers' colleges have to be more exposed to activities of this nature as they are the ones who will be responsible for carrying the message of the importance of the law of the sea to young people," Nicholson noted.
He was therefore pleased that the Ministry of Education had partnered with the Foreign Ministry and the International Seabed Authority to develop a deeper awareness of the convention through the essay competition.
The competition — one of the final activities to commemorate the 30th anniversary of UNCLOS — sees secondary school students from across the island engaged on the topic "Oceans for all: The world's common heritage".
The increased awareness of the benefits of the Convention to Jamaica and the international community among high school students is one of the key objectives of the UNCLOS 30th anniversary planning committee.
Meanwhile, Nicholson also proposed that "matters relating to the convention be disseminated in a more meaningful way, thus increasing the country's appreciation of the value of its territorial waters and oceans and seas in general".
The launch was attended by Secretary General of the International Seabed Authority Nii Odunton; Coy Roache, chair of the 30th Anniversary Planning Committee and Deputy Permanent Represenative of Jamaica to the International Seabed Authority; Ruby Brown, chief executive officer of the Management Institute for National Development, who chaired the event; and Dr Andre Hill, national literary co-ordinator with the Ministry of Education, in addition to sponsors and other guests.
The International Seabed Authority, with its headquarters in Kingston, has as part of its operation an Endowment Fund, which provides support to qualified scientists from developing countries for marine scientific research.