Jamaica’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Honourable A.J. Nicholson and Secretary-General Odunton of the International Seabed Authority today launched the 30th Anniversary of the Opening for Signature of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in Kingston.

In his opening remarks, the Minister said “the commemoration of this important milestone in global history provides a unique opportunity for Jamaica and the global community of nations, particularly developing countries which participated in the longest and largest diplomatic undertaking in the 66-year history of the United Nations”

The opening for signature of the Convention was held in Montego Bay on 10 December 1982 and attracted a record 119 signatures – the largest number of signatures ever affixed to a treaty on its first day.

The Convention serves as the primary legal framework through which all mankind can share in the development of the worlds largest resource – the ocean which covers more than 2/3 of the earth’s surface. This legislation provides for the utilisation of mineral resources of the deep seabed as the common heritage of mankind.

Today 30 years on, the membership of the ISA stands at 162 and the Convention has over time become the source of regulating the use of the world’s oceans; maritime boundaries have been delimited and many maritime delimitation disputes have been resolved through the application of teh regulations as stipulated under the Convention.

The 30th Anniversary launch also coincides with the commemoration of Jamaica’s 50th Anniversary of independence and a schedule of activities has been planned throughout the year to include a public lecture, school competitions, open days, a cultural reception, a newspaper supplement and a field trip to Montego Bay for the unveiling of a commemorative plaque for ISA delegates attending the 18th session in July.

The first of these activities was a symposium held after the launching with presentations by Secretary-General Odunton, the Deputy to the Secretary-General, Michael Lodge and Coy Roache, Deputy Permanent Representative of Jamaica to the ISA

  • Statement of Jamaica’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Honourable A.J. Nicholson
  • Statement of Secretary-General Nii Odunton


  • The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea: Achievements(Michael Lodge)
  • The International Seabed Authority – Functions, Roles and Organs (Nii A Odunton)
  • Marine Scientific Research – The International Seabed Authority’s Endowment Fund (Coy Roach)