The international negotiations which led to the adoption in 1982 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea have had a determining influence on the recognition by all countries, and particularly the developing countries, of "a marine dimension" in their development policies. Governments have become aware not only of the importance of ocean space and its resources, but also of the close interdependence which exists between the different uses of the sea, imposing the need to adopt "integrated marine policies".
The author observes that all policies involve the implementation of a certain number of essential functions, whatever institutional structures and mechanisms are used. The most decisive amongst these functions concern the formulation, planning, coordination, evaluation, and execution of programmes, as well as the regulation and making available of resources. Although no national policy "model" concerning marine research exists, two developing countries, India and Sri Lanka, offer solutions in this respect which may be a source of inspiration for other countries.
In spite of the complexity of integrated marine policies and the difficulties inherent in their conception and implementation, most of the developing countries have adopted such policies or are on the point of doing so. By taking into account, even on a limited basis, the impacts, conflicts, complementarities and relevant priorities, developing countries should be able to maximize the benefits which they can draw from the ocean space and its resources, while at the same time mobilizing most effectively the often limited financial, human or technical assets available.
The author recalls that it was to this ultimate objective that Jean Carroz devoted his professional life. The progress achieved in all countries which have benefited from his contribution bears witness to the importance of the role he played.