The United Nations began working on the codification of the Law of the Sea in 1958, when four conventions were adopted in Geneva, namely the Convention on the Territorial Sea and the Contiguous Zone, the Convention on the High Seas, the Convention on Fishing and Conservation of the Living Resources of the High Seas, and the Convention on the Continental Shelf. The conventions came into force in 1960. This was the first UN Law of the Sea conference and was organized under the auspices of the International Law Commission. In 1960 the second UN conference on maritime law was also held in Geneva and was dedicated to describing territorial seas. However, it did not succeed in reaching agreement regarding the six-mile territorial sea and six-mile fisheries zone. The third UN Conference on the Law of the Sea took place between 1973 and 1982. The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea from 1982 confirmed the right of each country to declare its territorial seas at limits of up to 12 nautical miles. The number of participating countries represented at the Law of the Sea conferences had increased with 157 national representatives in attendance at the third UN conference. In addition to issues of territorial sea width, other topics discussed included investigations and exploitation of marine resources outside of state jurisdiction, the legal status of sea areas and their countries, the rights and obligations of the largest exploiters of seas and oceans and principles of their cooperation. The author gives a high evaluation of the Law of the Sea codifications, which were prepared with the participation of the United Nations.
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