United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea Law and Legal Definition

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) international agreement that resulted from the third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS III), which took place from 1973 through 1982. The UNCLOS came into force in 1994 and deals with matters such as offshore oil drilling, navigation rights, conservation rights and research rights on the high seas. The Convention defines the rights and responsibilities of nations in their use of the world's oceans, establishing guidelines for businesses, the environment, and the management of marine natural resources. A total of 158 member nations and the European Community have ratified the Convention. The convention set the limit of various oceanic water areas, measured from a carefully defined baseline and covers internal waters, territorial waters, and archipelagic waters on the landward side of the baseline.