PRESS RELEASE BY THE MINISTRY FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND TRADE PROMOTION Malta continues to advocate in favor of an integrated and holistic approach towards ocean governance

Today’s fragmented approach towards ocean governance, where different UN agencies deal with overlapping issues in a disjointed manner, needs to change if we want a secure and sustainable future for our oceans and seas. This is why Malta continues to advocate in favour of an integrated approach to international ocean governance and a holistic approach to the problems of ocean space, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion, Carmelo Abela told lecturers and students during the opening address at an International Workshop organised jointly by the International Maritime Law Institute and the Embassy of Japan, with whom Malta has excellent ongoing bilateral relations that will soon strengthen and taken to a higher level, as a result of the Government’s decision to set up an embassy in Tokyo.

The theme of the workshop was The Role of Maritime Law in the East Asian Maritime Relations and was addressed by Professor David Attard, Director of IMLI, as well as by Ms Hitomi Sato, Minister Counsellor from the Embassy of Japan. The focus of the international workshop was on issues affecting international maritime law and ocean governance in East Asia. Professors from the WMU-Sasakawa Global Ocean Institute at the World Maritime University, Sophia University and King’s College London delivered lectures to the participants.

In his speech, Minister Abela stated that as an island State in the centre of the Mediterranean, with a long and rich maritime history, it is only natural for Malta to have a vital interest in all matters related to the Sea.

As an outward-looking nation, Malta’s foreign policy has, throughout the years, placed an automatic focus on seeking to contribute towards furthering the development of international ocean governance.

He recalled Arvid Pardo’s vision that inspired the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which to this day, remains the overall legal framework for all activities concerning the sea. This vision is still relevant in the context of the challenges of our times including the dynamics in the East Asia region.

Historically, the sea lanes in East Asia have been key for trade and remain economically vital for billions of people throughout the world. As we are all well aware, the policies pursued by regional powers have profound implications for regional � and global � security and stability. The maritime domain in East Asia presents several challenges with prospects for either conflict: or cooperation

Minister Abela highlighted the fact that diplomacy has an important role to play in turning challenges into opportunities for cooperation through dialogue and confidence building. We need to promote common goals which could, in turn, promote positive effects on the overall relations between countries.

In this respect, we welcome the efforts of regional actors � including the co-host of today’s workshop, Japan � to enhance maritime security. Other initiatives, such as the one taken by India in 2015 with the aim of fostering connectivity and the development of the blue economy, are also commendable.

Minister Abela also highlighted IMLI’s role in propagating the rule of law through more than thirty years of excellence in the service of international maritime law.

Source: Government of Malta