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Philippines joins Group of Friends on the Law of the Sea

Wednesday, July 21, 2021 - 14:00

Ambassador Enrique. A. Manalo (left), Permanent Representative of the Philippines to the United Nations, joins a meeting of the Group of Friends of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea keynoted by Professor Sir Malcolms Evans (right), University of Bristol Law School.


UNITED NATIONS, NEW YORK, 21 July 2021 - The Philippines has joined the recently established Group of Friends of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and participated in a virtual meeting on the topic “UNCLOS and the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14: Conservation and sustainable use of the oceans, seas and maritime resources.” The Group of Friends aims to promote the broadest understanding of UNCLOS and its validity and to serve as an informal forum to facilitate candid and constructive discussions on the Convention.

The meeting, convened by Vietnam, featured a discussion with Professor Sir Malcolms Evans, University of Bristol Law School, who highlighted UNCLOS as a comprehensive and integrated approach to the law of the sea, which permits and facilitates orderly changes as well as facilitates and encourages peaceful settlement of disputes. He stressed that this is central to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Ambassador Enrique A. Manalo, Permanent Representative of the Philippines to the United Nations, underscored the commitment of the Philippines to UNCLOS which sets out the legal framework within which all activities in the oceans and seas must be carried out, including efforts towards its sustainable use.

“Compliance with UNCLOS, including the use of peaceful settlement of disputes, can help address the drivers that affect the health of the oceans,” Ambassador Manalo stated.

The Philippine Ambassador noted that the second World Oceans Assessment identified drivers that apply pressures on the world’s oceans including, among others, demographic changes, climate change, changing governance structures and geopolitical instability, among others. He noted that in regions where there is conflict over access to resources and maritime boundaries, the regional disputes and geopolitical instabilities may affect economic growth and development.

Composed of over a hundred countries, the Group of Friends is envisioned to facilitate deeper understanding of UNCLOS, exchange of good practices in maritime delimitation and peaceful settlement of maritime disputes based on UNCLOS, and exchange of good models for ocean management and cooperation. It also aims to help in the identification of challenges and possible support in the implementation of UNCLOS, as well as to identify  recommendations to contribute to international cooperation in ocean governance and to the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and the seas. END