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White House Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force calls for US ratification of the Law of the Sea Convention

The White House released today, the Final Recommendations of the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force.  Not surprisingly, one of the recommendations is for the US to ratify the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. The Task Force notes:

The Task Force strongly and unanimously supports United States accession to the Convention on the Law of the Sea and ratification of its 1994 Implementing Agreement. The Law of the Sea Convention is the bedrock legal instrument governing activities on, over, and under the world’s oceans. United States accession to the Convention will further our national security, environmental, economic, and diplomatic interests.

Key reasons for accession include:

• The Convention has garnered the unequivocal support of our national security leadership under both Republican and Democratic administrations, because, among other things, it
codifies essential navigational rights and freedoms upon which our Armed Forces rely.

• The Convention sets forth the rights and responsibilities of nations to prevent, reduce, and control pollution of the marine environment and to protect and preserve resources off their shores.

• By becoming a party to the Convention, U.S. legal rights to our extended continental shelf can be put on the strongest legal foundation.

• As a party to the Law of the Sea Convention, the United States would have the ability to participate formally and more effectively in the interpretation and development of the Convention.

• Joining the Law of the Sea Convention would reaffirm and enhance United States leadership in global ocean affairs.

Exactly. Let’s hope that the Administration can have success in getting the Convention through the Senate.

(HT: Caitlyn L. Antrim)

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Anthony Clark Arend is Professor of Government and Foreign Service at Georgetown University and the Director of the Master of Science in Foreign Service in the Walsh School of Foreign Service.

Commentary and analysis at the intersection of international law and politics.