Event Reports

The 8th Ocean Dialogue

40th Anniversary of UNCLOS: Promoting Maritime Cooperation in Southeast Asia

Ocean Dialogue is one of the flagship cooperation programs between Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) Vietnam and Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam (DAV). Each Ocean Dialogue goes into a carefully set out topic. The series of Ocean Dialogue intends to raise the importance of the maritime/sea/ocean by building up the knowledge and looking at it from different angles. Maritime issues are of great importance to the countries around the South China Sea, which affect their economic, political, environmental and security context. Not only regionally is this topic of relevance, it is of equal importance to the global community.

On 29/06/2022 the 8th Ocean Dialogue “40th Anniversary of UNCLOS – Promoting Maritime Cooperation in Southeast Asia” was co-organized by Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Vietnam (KAS), Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam (DAV) and Australian Embassy in Vietnam. Over the years, the series of Ocean Dialogues have become one of the flagship events which received fruitful participation and high appreciation from scholars, experts, academia and diplomats in the region.

The 8th Ocean Dialogue was held in the format of on-site and online, with the participation of more than 250 delegates including national and international experts, representatives of central and local relevant agencies, diplomatic institutions. It is the Dialogue which provide a platform to re-emphasize the value of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) after 40 years of establishment, as well as discuss potential aspects of cooperation in the Southeast Asia. The highlight of this Dialogue was the participation of two judges from the International Court of the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) - Judge Rüdiger Wolfrum (Germany) and Judge Kriangsak Kittichaisaree (Thailand) with two keynote speeches on the potential capacity of the international dispute settlement mechanisms established under UNCLOS and the future development of UNCLOS.

Speaking at the Dialogue, Vietnam Deputy Foreign Minister Pham Quang Hieu emphasized that the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 40 years ago was a historic milestone in the development of international law of the sea. For the first time, a comprehensive legal framework - a "constitution" of the oceans was established. Since then, UNCLOS has been universally accepted and crystalized into customary international law. To date, the Convention continues to play a fundamental role in the development of international law of the sea, and in the promotion of peace, security, cooperation among nations, and sustainable development of oceans and seas.

The core issues discussed at the 8th Ocean Dialogue were: (i) a number of under-studied legal and maritime issues related to the implementation of UNCLOS in Southeast Asia, (ii) emission reductions from zero-emission transport activities and initiatives (iii) the obligation to cooperate among semi-enclosed bordering countries and (iv) the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction. Through four open and substantive discussion sessions, the Dialogue has received a lot of comprehensive, multi-dimensional exchange of ideas. Moreover, scientific statements were made which emphasize the role of international law and UNCLOS in maintaining the legal order at sea, referring to aspects that are directly related to Southeast Asia, towards solutions to resolve disagreements, strengthen cooperation and make practical policy recommendations for countries in the region. In addition, many experts shared existing experiences and initiatives from not only coastal states but also landlocked countries in order to promote the peaceful use of the seas and strengthen cooperation.




Vu Thi Thu Phuong

Vu Phuong

Project Manager

Phuong.Vu@kas.de +84 24 3 7186194 /17 +84 24 37186197