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AssIDMer was established, in 2001, exactly for the purpose of promoting research activities on issues relating to the Law of the Sea by academics, civil servants and legal practitioners. It is an honor, therefore, for its President, to make some general points on the topic of “Global Challenges and the Law of the Sea”, which are meant to constitute a basic background premise to the chapters that follow. First of all, the maritime issues herein discussed illustrate the vitality of the Law of the Sea, even if an element that can be considered common to many current issues of this topic is the rapid aging of international legal instruments available. Secondly, a free and open maritime order based on the rule of law must be considered as a cornerstone for the stability and prosperity of the international community; this implies that the old unilateralist ethics of the “creeping jurisdiction” must today give way to the demands of co-operation imperatives that are functionally necessary for the common interests of the international community. Finally, protection of marine environment and resources is an emerging key priority at global level; in particular, it has to be stressed that the deep sea represents the world’s largest environment: though largely unexplored, it provides for one of the highest levels of biodiversity on our planet and for a wide variety of ecosystem services.