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On October 11, 2018, “The Indian Ocean: Defining our Future” Conference was held for 2 days till October 12, 2018 held at Temple Trees, in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

It is aimed to explore strongest challenges in the Indian Ocean region.

  1. It was organized by the  Office of the Prime Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institutein collaboration with the Global Maritime Crime Programme of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
  2. The inaugural address of the Conference was delivered by President Maithripala Sirisena while Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe delivered the keynote address.
  3. Also, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean, Ambassador Peter Thomson addressed the inaugural session.
  4. Discussions were focused on four thematic areas, namely:
  • The Indian Ocean Economy: The New Global Growth Pole;
  • Life below Water: Reframing the Oceans as Development Spaces;
  • An End to Uncertainty: Safety and Security at Sea;and
  • Reinforcing International Law in the Indian Ocean:  United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and Emerging Issues.
  1. This would lead toa multilateral  diplomatic Conference to be held early 2019 in Sri Lanka to work on the conference that would contribute towards greater peace, security and prosperity in the Indian Ocean.
  2. India was represented by Indian Deputy National Security Advisor Pankaj Saran, in the Inaugural Panel titled “Navigating Challenges and Prospects in the Indian Ocean: Towards a Shared Understanding”.

United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)

  • The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea(UNCLOS), also called the Law of the Sea Convention or the Law of the Sea treaty, is the international agreement that resulted from the third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS III), which took place between 1973 and 1982.
  • The Law of the Sea Convention defines the rights and responsibilities of nations with respect to their use of the world’s oceans, establishing guidelines for businesses, the environment, and the management of marine natural resources.
  • The Convention, concluded in 1982, replaced four 1958 treaties. UNCLOS came into force in 1994, a year after Guyana became the 60th nation to ratify the treaty.
  • As of June 2016, 167 countries and the European Union have joined in the Convention. It is uncertain as to what extent the Convention codifies customary international law.

Background:
This Conference is held at a time when the Indian Ocean has emerged as one of the world’s busiest and most critical trade corridors, carrying two thirds of global oil shipments and a third of bulk cargo and hosting the most critical Sea Lanes of Communication (SLOCs), directly impacting global trade and economy.

Sri Lanka:

♦ Capital: Colombo, Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte.

♦ Currency: Sri Lankan rupee.

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