Posted by: APO | 20 November 2007


19 November 2007



(Delayed in transmission.)


NEW YORK, 8 November (UN Office of Legal Affairs) –- Randrianarisoa Leonide of Madagascar was awarded the twenty-second Hamilton Shirley Amerasinghe Fellowship on the Law of the Sea.  Ms. Leonide will carry out her proposed field of research/study, “Maritime environment protection”, in the belief that her research/study will result in Madagascar’s legal understanding of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.


In the event that the selected candidate does not accept the award, the Fellowship, in order of preference, will be offered to Alexander Surzhin of the Russian Federation and Ammar Al-Karki of Iraq.


The Fellowship is intended primarily to advance the proficiency and capability of Government officials, research fellows or academics from developing countries who are involved in the law of the sea or ocean affairs and have gained wide acclaim for their academic contribution to the overall understanding and implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.


The award was made by the Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs, the Legal Counsel of the United Nations, on the basis of the recommendation of a High-Level Advisory Panel.  This year’s panel was composed of the following:  Claude Heller, Permanent Representative of Mexico; Prasad Kariyawasam, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka; Andrzej Towpik; Permanent Representative of Poland; Cathy Adams, Legal Counsellor, Permanent Mission of the United Kingdom; Isabelle Picco, Deputy Permanent Representative of Monaco; and John Norton Moore, Director, Center for Oceans Law and Policy, University of Virginia (Chairman).


The Fellowship is prized for the academic opportunity and the practical experience it provides to the participants.  The programme involves a course of study at a participating university or institution and a period of practical training at the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea in the United Nations Office of Legal Affairs.  Although most fellows continue to carry out their training at the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, some fellows in recent years have chosen to pursue their training with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) or the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.


The Fellowship was established in 1981 in memory of Hamilton Shirley Amerasinghe, who served as the first President of the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea.  That Conference, which began its work in 1973, adopted the Convention in April 1982 and opened it for signature in December of the same year.  The Convention now has 157 Parties, and is generally regarded as “the charter of the oceans”.  It regulates international legal norms for all matters relating to the governance, uses and protection of the oceans.  The Fellowship is part of the programme of capacity-building of the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, Office of Legal Affairs.  It is also part of the Office of Legal Affairs’ overall programme of teaching, study, dissemination and wider appreciation of international law.


Despite its clear benefits and widespread recognition and appreciation, only one Fellowship could be awarded each year due to lack funds.  The General Assembly has, again this year, in its resolution 61/222, called on Member States and interested organizations, foundations and individuals to continue to make voluntary contributions towards the financing of the Fellowship, as this would make it possible to award more than one Fellowship per year.


In the past year, the Governments of Cyprus, Ireland, Monaco and the United Kingdom made financial contributions to the Fellowship fund.  Also in the past, individual States have made special contributions, which financed the award of special Fellowships at designated universities or institutions.


Previous fellows have come from nearly all regions of the world:   Argentina, Barbados, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Nepal, Nigeria, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Sao Tome and Principe, Samoa, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, United Republic of Tanzania, Viet Nam and Yugoslavia ( Serbia and Montenegro).  They have devoted their study and training period to various topics such as:  maritime delimitation, methods for the determination of the outer limits of the continental shelf, maritime transport of hazardous materials, marine scientific research, the marine environment, crimes at sea, settlement of disputes, and the legal regime of genetic resources in areas of the deep seabed beyond the limits of national jurisdiction.


Sixteen world renowned universities and institutes participate in the Fellowship programme.  All of them waive their usual tuition fees in order to allow the fellows to carry out their research/study at the institution or university of their choice.  The institutions are:  Center for Oceans Law and Policy, University of Virginia, Charlottesville; Dalhousie Law School, Halifax, Canada; Faculty of Law, University of Oxford, United Kingdom; Faculty of Law, University of Southampton, United Kingdom; Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva, Switzerland; Institute of International Studies, University of Chile, Santiago; International Boundaries Research Unit, University of Durham, United Kingdom; Marine Policy Center, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachusetts; Netherlands Institute for the Law of the Sea, University of Utrecht; Research Centre for International Law, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom; Rhodes Academy of Oceans Law and Policy, Greece; School of Law, University of Georgia, Athens (State of Georgia, United States); School of Law, University of Miami, Florida; School of Law, University of Washington, Seattle; and William S. Richardson School of Law, University of Hawaii, Honolulu.


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