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Law of the Sea, forty years since Montego Bay Convention


“Mare liberum, mare clausum. Forty years since the Montego Bay Convention on the Law of the Sea” is the title of the conference that will be held on 27 and 28 May in Venice, in the evocative setting of the “Antico Arsenale” (Old Arsenal), and then on the Island of San Servolo, for the opening of the third edition of the International Boat Show.

The conference – which enjoys the patronage of the Italian Foreign Affairs Ministry – celebrates the first 40 years of the “United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea” (UNCLOS), the reference regulatory framework governing all activities carried out at sea, which also defines the rights and responsibilities of States with reference to the use of marine areas.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Luigi Di Maio, sent a message to the event,  pointing out that “Italy has always been among the top promoters of the Montego Bay Convention. Oceans unite – he stressed – and therefore have a vocation for peace. In a historical moment such as the current one, with the return of war on the European continent following Russia’s illegal aggression against Ukraine making us increasingly aware of the importance of ensuring respect for international law, Italy is at the forefront in defending its fundamental values and principles and is striving to achieve the ultimate goal, that of restoring peace”.
The conference is organised by the Italian Navy’s Institute of Maritime Military Studies, Venice International University (VIU) and Ca’ Foscari University of Venice and will be attended, among others, by the Head of the Legal Affairs Service for Diplomatic Litigations and Treaties of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Stefano Zanini, and Ambassador Umberto Vattani, President of VIU.

During the event, sector experts from the institutional, academic, business and diplomatic spheres will focus on the nature and objectives of the Montego Bay Convention, highlighting the extent to which the latter, as “living law”, has met the challenges posed by the  reality, including cross-border reality, of contemporary international law and the “blue economy”. The event will be followed by the discussion and drafting of the “Venice Statement on the Law of the Sea and Sustainability”, a declaration that may be signed by civil society, which will then be submitted to the Government, the European Commission and the UN General Assembly.

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