He helped shape the 200 mile EEZ and the Law of the Sea: Ambassador Satya Nandan passes away


By Sadhana Sen

“He stands tall amongst the giants of the Pacific Islands as the one who perhaps more than anyone else gave us the rights and jurisdiction over the vast tuna resources that we now enjoy and perhaps take for granted. He was the Chair of the drafting Committee at the UN who helped shape the 200 mile exclusive economic zone regime but closer to home he helped shape the Forum Leaders Declaration on the Law of the Sea that provided the impetus for the 200 miles fisheries zones we now have and the Forum Fisheries Agency” Transform Aqorau

The death has occurred of one of Fiji’s and the Pacific regions eminent and senior most international civil servants, former Ambassador Satya N. Nandan, CF, CBE, a diplomat and lawyer from Fiji specializing in ocean affairs.

Ambassador Nandan who has been residing in Manhattan New York was the Chairman of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, where he served a two-year term commencing 1 January 2009. Prior to that he was the first Secretary-General of the International Seabed Authority (ISA), a position he held for three consecutive four-year terms from March 1996 until December 2008.

As the first Secretary-General of the Authority Ambassador Nandan, was widely recognised as having played a key role in the finalization of UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) the overarching international convention governing the sustainable management, protection and use of our oceans and its resources.

During the course of his career Ambassador Nandan worked closely with fisheries experts such as the Former Head of Parties to the Nauru Agreement, and now Solomon Islands Permanent Representative to the UN, Dr Transform Aqorau, and greatly influenced discussions in the fisheries sector in the Pacific.

Ambassador Nandan, a Fiji  born Indian held a Law degree from the University of London and was a Barrister-at-Law of Lincoln’s Inn, England. He was also a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Fiji. He representative Fiji at the United Nations (1970–76 and 1993–95) and was Fiji’s Ambassador to the European Union, Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands (1976-1980). He had served as Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Fiji.

Ambassador Nandan was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) by Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada (2012), an honorary Doctorate by the University of the South Pacific (1996) and an honorary Doctor of Laws by the Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada (1995). He was accorded the rank of Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1978 and was awarded Fiji’s highest honour, Companion of the Order of Fiji (CF), in 1997. He was honored with the award of the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany by the President of Germany (1996).

Ambassador Nandan was married to another Fijian diplomat, the late Shree Nandan and later to prominent UN journalist, the late Zarine Nandan who passed away two years ago. He is survived by his only son Kumar Nandan who resides in Pittsburgh, United States. Funeral notice will be announced shortly according to family members residing in Sydney.

Sadhana Sen is a Regional Governance, Development and Communications Specialist who resides in Fiji