21. UNESCO-Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage

This advisory report examines how the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage relates to the international law of the sea and, in particular, to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).


The CAVV advises that, if the Netherlands becomes a party to the UNESCO Convention, it should make a declaration regarding the interpretation of UNCLOS. The consequence of making an express declaration to this effect is that the Kingdom, as a coastal State, should leave it to other States Parties to impose the duty to report on activities in the Dutch Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) or on the Dutch continental shelf with regard to underwater cultural heritage by:

  • nationals of other states or
  • masters of vessels flying another flag.

Reporting duty

The CAVV also recommends that the Dutch representatives in international discussions of the UNESCO Convention should remain alert to the possibility that a gap in the reporting duty may arise and that the Dutch authorities should hold consultations with the other parties if there is a danger of this happening.