UNCLOS has failed to achieve its goals due to non-compliance by many states
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In 1982 it may have been reasonable, if perhaps somewhat optimistic, to hope that the LOSC would, in the words of its preamble, establish a “legal order for...the oceans which...will promote the peaceful uses of the seas and oceans, . . . the conservation of their living resources and the . . . preservation of the marine environment.” Thirty years later it is clear that the LOSC has failed to achieve those goals. This is in part due to continuing non-compliance with many of its provisions. Such non-compliance is a matter of serious concern for all the reasons suggested earlier. It could—and should—be addressed by States parties making more use of Part XV of the LOSC (perhaps non- governmental organizations could persuade or help States to bring test cases); by considering more use of retorsion and counter-measures; and by developing compliance mechanisms for other treaties that indirectly help to promote compliance with the LOSC. In some cases assistance in capacity building may also be appropriate.
Empirically, after 30 years there is a significant and consistent pattern of non-compliance with UNCLOS provisions.