Appendix to the reply
Comments of the Committee of Legal Advisers
on Public International Law (CAHDI)
On 21 October 2009, the Ministers’
Deputies communicated Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1888 (2009)
to the Committee of Legal Advisers on Public International
Law (CAHDI) for information and possible comments by 31 March 2010.
In its recommendation, the Parliamentary Assembly called on
the Committee of Ministers to:
a committee of experts to define a legal and institutional framework
for new ocean governance;
- invite the Parliamentary Assembly to take part in the
work of the committee of experts.
The Assembly also recommended that the Committee of Ministers
call on governments of member states to:
- take part in the EurOcean intergovernmental project;
- promote the establishment and proper management of marine
3. The CAHDI examined the above-mentioned
recommendation at its 39th meeting (Strasbourg, 18‑19 March
2010) and adopted the following comments concerning aspects of the
recommendation which are of particular relevance to the mandate
of the CAHDI (public international law).
From the outset, the CAHDI would like to underline the importance
of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December
1982 (UNCLOS), which provides the regulatory framework for use of
the world’s seas and oceans and is the key legal reference in this
field. 160 states or entities are parties to UNCLOSNote
of which 42 are Council of Europe member states. Also large parts
of UNCLOS reflect customary law. The CAHDI considers that UNCLOS
is the comprehensive legal and institutional framework for oceans governance
and does not see the need to establish a new framework. The CAHDI
recommends to the Ministers’ Deputies to call on Council of Europe
member states which have not yet done so to ratify or to accede to
this instrument at their earliest convenience.
5. The CAHDI considers that, as before, the United Nations remains
the most appropriate institution for discussing oceans governance,
given the global reach of the law of the sea.
6. In this respect, the CAHDI also recalls the importance of
the peaceful settlement of disputes in the field of the law of the
sea, including as provided for in UNCLOS. In this respect states
may use the opportunity provided under UNCLOS to nominate suitably
qualified people to lists of arbitrators and to update such lists
on a regular basis. In this regard, the CAHDI would like to recall
its contribution to the Committee of Ministers’ adoption of Recommendation
CM/Rec(2008)9 to member states on the nomination of international
arbitrators and conciliators.
7. The CAHDI considers that the Arctic is not a new region, nor
is it currently intensively exploited. Also in this region UNCLOS
constitutes the existing legal framework for oceans governance.
8. Finally, in the course of its work, the CAHDI has also taken
note of relevant recent cases brought before international courts,
including the European Court of Human Rights, concerning directly
or indirectly the law of the sea. The CAHDI follows on a regular
basis the development of case law in this field.
9. The CAHDI advises the Committee of Ministers that there is
no need to establish a committee of experts to attempt to define
a legal and institutional framework for oceans governance as requested
as it considers the current legal framework to be sufficient.