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Home > Country profiles > United Nations > Articles > Article detail

A new path to dispute settlement

Wednesday, 14th June 2018

"On 9 May, the United Nations Conciliation Commission (UNCC) concerning the Timor Sea dispute between Timor-Leste and Australia released its final report. This was the first time such a form of compulsory dispute resolution had been invoked, with the proceedings initiated in April the year before under Annex V of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

The final report offers insights into both the successes and limitations of this “new” approach to dispute resolution. The experience prompts a question: might conciliation provide a novel approach applicable to the numerous other enduring maritime disputes in the Asia-Pacific region?

The primary mandate of the UNCC was to assist the parties to reach an agreement on permanent maritime boundaries. To that end, the UNCC can be regarded as a success. It helped achieve a significant breakthrough on this long-standing and contentious aspect of the Timor Sea disputes. In March 2018 Australia and Timor-Leste signed a treaty establishing maritime boundaries in the Timor Sea."

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Language: English
Contact: Bec Starting and Clive Schofield

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