The Third UN Conference on the Law of the Sea defined the rights and duties of nations in the use of the world’s oceans. Henry Kissinger called it ‘One of the most significant negotiations in diplomatic history’. It ran from 1973 to 1982 and assembled over 150 nations. Ireland played a key role in achieving international consensus on many of the intractable issues addressed, and this book is the first to present a narrative account of the conference from the point of view of the Irish. It presents a case study of how a small but effective delegation developed and executed its national marine policy in a large forum with a complex and comprehensive agenda. It shows how Ireland became the third largest country in the European Union after the ratification of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS ) in 1996. Irish diplomats won for Ireland exclusive rights to oil, gas, mineral, wind and wave energy and all natural resources of the seabed for an area ten times bigger than Ireland. The author, the late distinguished diplomat Mahon Hayes, led the Irish delegation to the Law of the Sea conference and was centrally involved in the negotiations.
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