The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea was adopted in 1982. It lays down a comprehensive regime of law and order in the world's oceans and seas establishing rules governing all uses of the oceans and their resources. It embodies in one instrument traditional rules for the uses of the oceans and at the same time introduces new legal concepts and regimes and addresses new concerns. The Convention also provides the framework for further development of specific areas of the law of the sea.
The Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea (DOALOS) of the Office of Legal Affairs of the United Nations serves as the secretariat of the Convention on the Law of the Sea and provides information, advice and assistance to States with a view to providing a better understanding of the Convention and the related Agreements, their wider acceptance, uniform and consistent application and effective implementation. The Division monitors all developments relating to the Convention, the law of the sea and ocean affairs and reports annually to the General Assembly of the United Nations on those developments. It also assists the United Nations Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea in reviewing such developments.