In connection with its 50th anniversary, the Fridtjof Nansen Institute (FNI) convened this international conference on marine affairs and law of the sea, to provide an independent and qualified forum for the exchange of views, analyses and comments on challenges for seas and marine regions, and their resources, in the face of increasing globalization.

The conference was held in Oslo 21-23 August 2008 with approximately 200 participants from all continents.

This was the third international conference organized by the FNI to discuss challenges for the international cooperation on oceans and seas in general, and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in particular. The previous conferences were held in 1983, following up on the adoption of the Convention, and in 1998, addressing implementation aspects following the entry into force of the Convention.

Today, the Convention has 155 parties and is widely accepted as an established legal and policy framework for the world ocean. It is now 25 years since the Convention was adopted – an anniversary that can serve as a good occasion to assess the state of affairs that the Convention aims at regulating.

In the past quarter-century, however, various aspects of globalization – affecting also on the use of the seas – have likely had more impact on the state of the marine environment and resources than all human activities have had in the entire span of human history before. Against this backdrop, the conference had three thematic foci:

  • Challenges posed by globalization
  • Interaction between global and regional regulatory and policy responses
  • Technology and science: Interface with ocean law and policy development

Through these themes, the conference addressed several key issue-areas, including high-seas fishing and international navigation in particular


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  • Ministry of Industry and Trade, Norway
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norway
  • Research Council of Norway
  • Ministry of the Environment, Norway
  • Ministry of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs, Norway
  • Ministry of Defence, Norway
  • The Norwegian Fishing Vessel Owners Association
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Chile
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, New Zealand
  • Ministry of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure, Croatia
  • The Law of the Sea Institute of Iceland
  • The Law of the Sea Institute at the University of California, Berkeley, USA