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Formal meeting (oral evidence session): UNCLOS: fit for purpose in the 21st century?

International Relations and Defence Committee
UNCLOS: fit for purpose in the 21st century?

Wednesday 8 December 2021

Start times: 10.00am (private) 10.00am (public)

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Committee holds session with Minister on UNCLOS

The House of Lords International Relations and Defence Committee will take evidence from the Minister for Pacific and the Environment on maritime law, security and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea

The Committee will ask questions on the Government’s assessment of UNCLOS, the UK’s main partnerships in regard to the law of the sea and the UK’s priorities relating to maritime law and security.

Meeting details

At 10.00am: Oral evidence
Inquiry UNCLOS: fit for purpose in the 21st century?
Minister for the Pacific and the International Environment at Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Legal Director at Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

Possible questions

  • Does the Government consider UNCLOS to be fit for purpose? Is it the Government’s view that any parts of UNCLOS should be updated or amended?
  • Is the Government currently supporting or advocating for any supplementary treaties or regulations to UNCLOS? How is the Government working to ensure the UK’s interests are addressed in proposed new treaties and regulations?
  • What is the Government doing to ensure that member states comply with UNCLOS and the principles of the law of the sea, including freedom of navigation?
  • We have heard the obligations on states under international human rights law are “not clear cut” at sea. What is the Government’s understanding of the obligations of states when abuses take place at sea? What actions are the Government taking to ensure the effective implementation of human rights law at sea?
  • Is the Government taking any action to try to reform the flag state system and enforce UNCLOS’s provision that there “must exist a genuine link between the State and the ship”?
  • A new treaty regulating Marine Biodiversity in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (the BBNJ Agreement) is currently being negotiated. What are the Government priorities in these negotiations? How does the Government plan to promote the effective implementation of marine protected areas?
  • Does the Government think baselines should ambulate with sea-level rise, or should they be fixed? How does the Government plan to support those affected by sea-level rise, and how prepared is the UK to support climate change refugees?


Room 4A, Palace of Westminster

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