With a coastline of more than 3,200 km and thousands of islands including the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagos, Vietnam has benefited much from the sea. Vietnam participated in building the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and was one of the first countries to sign and approve the Convention.
The 1994 adoption reflects Vietnam’s determination to work with other countries to build an equal order to promote development and cooperation at sea.
National maritime policies
Its Sea and islands are part of Vietnam’s sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction, and are a living space and a gateway to other countries.
Being aware of the importance of sea and islands in national construction and defense, Vietnam has managed fishery exploitation in parallel with defending national sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction at sea in order to build a strong, prosperous country.
The Communist Party of Vietnam has created a vision and issued several policies and guidelines on sea and islands to enable state agencies to effectively use and manage fisheries.
They include the Vietnam Maritime Strategy 2020 and the Vietnam Maritime Sustainable Economic Development Strategy 2030 and Vision to 2045.
Under the Vietnam Maritime Strategy 2020, Vietnam aims to become a strong and rich coastal country and firmly defend national sovereignty, to contribute to national industrialization and modernization.
The strategy points out Vietnam’s priorities including oil and gas exploitation and processing, fishery exploitation and processing, maritime economic development, sea and sea resort tourism, and developing economic and industrial zones.
Under the strategy, Vietnam will also focus on building sea and island infrastructure. The Vietnam Maritime Sustainable Economic Development Strategy until 2030 and Vision to 2045 affirms the Vietnamese Party and State’s consistent policy of boosting the maritime economy in line with environmental protection, sustainable use of marine national resources, and mapping out master solutions and strategies.
By 2030 Vietnam intends to become a strong coastal country that develops maritime ecological culture, adapts to climate change and sea level rising, and prevents environmental pollution and degradation.
Vietnam aims to develop a sustainable maritime economy with international standards, manage maritime resources while ensuring the recovery of the maritime ecology, evaluate potential and values of maritime resources, establish data on sea and islands, prevent and reduce sea environmental pollution, and take the lead in reducing plastic waste at sea.
Vietnam also hopes to effectively manage and protect the maritime ecological system, expand sea protected reserves to 6% of its natural area, and increase its capacity in disaster forecasting and warning.
National maritime laws
Vietnam has issued sea-related laws including the revised Law on Oil and Gas, the Law on Environmental Protection, the Law on National Border, the Law on Fishery, the Vietnam Maritime Code, the Law on Natural Resources, Sea Environment and Islands, the Law on Planning, and the Law on Vietnam Coast Guard.
The government has also issued a series of legal documents to implement the laws. As an UNCLOS member, Vietnam needs to build its own law on the sea. The National Assembly of Vietnam on June 21, 2012 adopted the Law on Vietnam Sea marking an important milestone in Vietnam’s legal system on maritime issues.
The law covers Vietnam’s legal status at sea, sovereign islands and sovereignty rights under UNCLOS. This is an important legal foundation for Vietnam to manage, protect, and develop its marine economy.
It reflects Vietnam’s respect for international law, including the UNCLOS to strive for peace stability, cooperation and development in the region and the world.