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The United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS III)

  • Vaid's ICS, Lucknow
  • 07, Mar 2022
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Why in News?

The third session of the United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS III) which was held between 1973 to 1982 led to the formation of the current convention named UNCLOS.

  • The Convention which concluded in the year 1982 replaced the quad-treaty of 1958 also known as Convention on the High Seas.
  • UNCLOS became effective in the year 1994 and later in the year 2016, UNCLOS was joined by 167 countries and the European Union.

UNCLOS Features:

Some of the important features of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea are listed below:

  • Nations are provided with full money rights by UNCLOS for a 200-mile zone along the shoreline.
  • The sea and oceanic bed extending to this area are regarded to be the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of a country and that country can use these waters for their economic utilization.
  • Another important organization that plays a vital role in UNCLOS operations is the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
  • Other important parties involved in Nautical Law and its functioning are the International Seabed Authority and the International Whaling Commission.

Initiatives under UNCLOS:

The first Conference on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS I) was held in the year 1956 at Geneva, Switzerland by the United Nations. This conference resulted in the following four treaties:

Convention on the Territorial Sea and Contiguous Zone Convention on Fishing and Conservation of Living Resources of the High Seas
Convention on the High Seas Convention on the Continental Shelf

Several initiatives were taken after the establishment of the United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) which are mentioned below:

International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS)

    • Established by the UNCLOS, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea is an independent judicial body that adjudicates disputes arising out of the convention. ITLOS was signed on December 10, 1982, and entered into force on November 16, 1994. To know more about ITLOS, refer to the linked page.

International Seabed Authority

  • It was formed in 1994 for regulating the exploration and exploitation of marine non-living resources of oceans in international waters.
  • To know about the functions of the International Seabed Authority, refer to the linked page.
  • Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS)
    • Established under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, CLCS is responsible for facilitating the implementation of UNCLOS with respect to the establishment of the outer limits of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles.

Click here to read about UNCLOS Maritime ZoneExclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

UNCLOS and India

India played a constructive role in deliberations leading to UNCLOS’s adoption in 1982 and has been a party to the convention since 1995.

  • India shares maritime boundaries with the following countries:
Bangladesh Indonesia
Myanmar Sri Lanka
Thailand Maldives

Facts for Prelims:

SAAMAR Campaign:

The Jharkhand government announced the launch of SAAMAR (Strategic Action for Alleviation of Malnutrition and Anemia Reduction) campaign to tackle malnutrition in the state.

  • The campaign aims to identify anaemic women and malnourished children and converge various departments to effectively deal with the problem in a state where malnutrition has been a major problem.
  • AAMAR has been launched with a 1000 days target, under which annual surveys will be conducted to track the progress.