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Commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the adoption and opening for signature of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea

Commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the adoption and opening for signature of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea

International Seabed Authority Assembly, 1 August 2022





M. President,


Honorable Ministers,

Distinguished delegates,

The Convention is the “Constitution of the ocean” and it is today the fundamental international legal instrument for the governance of all maritime spaces. Despite its 40 years of life, it is still a dynamic tool in regulating the uses and resources of the sea, playing a driving role in the development of international law in the face of the emergence of new and complex challenges to the maritime global commons and to the delicate ecosystems of the sea.

Freedom and security of maritime lines of communication is dear to Italy and one of the cornerstones of our position on the governance of the seas as we depend on them for the supply of energy, raw materials and semi-finished products. Our security and our prospects for economic growth largely depend on the sea.

In this sense, Italy has recently authorized the establishment of itsExclusive Economic Zone, which will allow the sustainable exploitation and the protection of further spaces of the seas adjacent to its coasts.

Mr. President,

Italy is a leading industrial economy, based on advanced technologies requiring a stable and performing supply chain, including raw materials and strategic mineral resources. Our economy needs a global market working on sound principles of free competition, transparency, open connectivity and a regular flow of goods.

In this context, we have been a committed member of the International Seabed Authority since its birth in 1994 and a member of Group A of the Council for six consecutive terms. We are proud of this membership not only because we recognize the importance of the Organization in the framework of global ocean governance, but also because we consider it as a working tool in the preservation of the marine environment and a beacon of advanced marine scientific research and technological development.

Italy is strongly committed to the sustainable use of marine natural resources, to the preservation of the ecosystems’ integrity and to the creation of an institutional and regulatory system for the exploitation of the mineral resources of the Area focused on scientific knowledge, the precautionary principle and the ecosystem-based approach. We think that deep-sea mining should not commence until we approve, prior to the authorization of exploitation contracts, a strong regulatory framework ensuring the minimization of impacts of the activities in the Area.

Mr. President,

We all have a duty of care towards the future generations to ensure that the resources of the seas and the ocean serve the sustainable development of all humanity.

The seas and oceans have been, from the very beginning of history, a place of exchange, contact and sharing. The sea unitesand as such has a vocation for peace.

I am therefore pleased that today we are celebrating the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in its very birthplace, Jamaica, a symbolic meeting point and a crossroads of cultures.

Thank you, Mr. President.