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Drive to educate J’cans about Law of the Sea Convention

BY LUKE DOUGLAS Observer senior reporter ?douglasl@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, July 25, 2012    

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JAMAICA has established a national planning committee to raise awareness about the importance of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller announced yesterday.

The prime minister underscored the importance of the protection of the marine environment to Jamaica, as well as the country’s role in the development of the Convention and the establishment of the International Seabed Authority (ISA) headquarters here.

“For our part, Jamaica has established a national planning committee which has been organising activities aimed at raising awareness among the Jamaican people about the benefits of the Convention,” Simpson Miller stated. “It is our hope that the activities planned will have some continuity long after this commemorative year has ended.”

She was addressing a special session of the ISA at the Jamaica Conference Centre in Kingston to mark the commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the UNCLOS.

The prime minister also noted that the Convention called for the resources of deep seabed mining to be used for the common heritage of mankind. “The protection of the fragile marine resources upon which we depend for tourism, fishing and transportation is in large part dependent on this convention,” she said.

She said Jamaica had passed a number of important pieces of legislation which demonstrate the country’s commitment to the conservation of the oceans.

The 18th session of the ISA is currently underway with delegates from at least 62 countries in attendance. The ISA, among other things, is developing the rules and regulations to govern mining in the international seabed outside of country jurisdictions, expected to start in the next few years and estimated to be worth billions of United States dollars.

Also addressing the session, president of the ISA Assembly, Ambassador Milan Meetarbahn of Mauritius called on member states to renew their pledge “to adopt necessary measures to ensure effective protection of the marine environment from the potential effects of the activities being conducted, in terms of the convention itself, for the benefit of mankind”,

ISA Secretary-General Nii Odunton, in his remarks, said the landmark convention, which is referred to as “the constitution of the ocean”, has contributed to peace and justice with respect to the use of marine resources.

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