|Participants at the workshop
The event was co-organised by Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, with the participation of over 80 officials and experts on marine management from 20 ARF member countries.
It was a follow-up event of two previous ARF workshops on the UNCLOS held in 2011 and 2014 in the framework of the ARF working group on maritime security, as well as an effort to realise the Hanoi Plan of Actions to Implement the ARF Vision Statement and ARF Work Plan on Maritime Security 2018-2020.
The two-day workshop facilitated ARF members’ discussions on ways to effectively implement international maritime documents, especially the 1982 UNCLOS, in order to address challenges in current maritime management and seek cooperation opportunities among ARF members.
The workshop’s co-chairs - Director of the Department of Law and International Treaty under Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Le Thi Tuyet Mai and Deputy Director of the Legal Division under Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Justin Whyatt -emphasised the importance of the 1982 UNCLOS as a comprehensive legal framework regulating the legitimate rights and interests of countries – including coastal, archipelagic, and landlocked nations – in using seas and oceans, exploiting and preserving marine resources, and enhancing maritime cooperation between nations.
Discussions covered a wide range of topics, including challenges for traditional marine security in the region, emerging issues in the conservation and sustainable use of marine resources, climate change, and regional and international cooperation in the field.
Established in 1994, the ARF is a multilateral forum between the 10 ASEAN member nations and their partners to discuss peace and security issues with the main target of building trust and increasing dialogues in the region with ASEAN playing the central role.
The forum currently has a total of 27 members, including 26 countries and the European Union. Both Vietnam and Australia were founding members of the forum.