UNCLOS has become a significant milestone in the development of international law
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It is difficult to overstate the extent to which this Convention has become more than a Treaty and has become, instead, an international state of mind. It created new international law, codifying much of what had become customary law of the sea, and established new norms in the negotiation of multilateral, international treaty agreements. For many emerging nations, it was the first major international treaty negotiation that they had ever participated in. According to former United Nations Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar, the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea embodies the will of an overwhelming majority of nations from all parts of the world, at different levels of development, and having diverse geographical characteristics.8
The negotiations and compromises that led to the development of UNCLOS were a watershed for the development of international law and could serve as a model for the development of similar regimes for the governance of other global commons, including outer space, cyberspace, and the genetic pool.