Commission on Limits of Continental Shelf to Hold Fiftieth Session at Headquarters, 1 July to 16 August

SEA/2107
27 June 2019

Commission on Limits of Continental Shelf to Hold Fiftieth Session at Headquarters, 1 July to 16 August

NEW YORK, 27 June (Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea) — The Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf will hold its fiftieth session from 1 July to 16 August.  The plenary parts of the session will be held from 29 July to 2 August and from 13 to 16 August.  The remainder of the session will be devoted to the technical examination of submissions at the geographic information systems laboratories and other technical facilities of the Division.

During the fiftieth session, nine subcommissions will actively consider submissions made by the following coastal States: the Russian Federation in respect of the Arctic Ocean (partial revised submission); Brazil in respect of the Brazilian Equatorial Margin (partial revised submission); France and South Africa jointly in respect of the area of the Crozet Archipelago and the Prince Edward Islands; Kenya; Nigeria; France in respect of La Réunion Island and Saint-Paul and Amsterdam Islands; Sri Lanka; Portugal; and Palau in respect of the North Area (partial amended submission).

The plenary of the Commission will continue its consideration of the draft recommendations in regard to the submission made by Tonga in respect of the eastern part of the Kermadec Ridge and plans to commence its consideration of the draft recommendations in regard to the submission made by Côte d'Ivoire, transmitted to the Commission in March 2018 during the forty-ninth session by the subcommission established to consider this submission.

From among the coastal States that have not yet done so, France and Mauritius accepted an invitation to make their presentations of their respective submissions at the plenary.  It is recalled that France submitted to the Commission, in accordance with Article 7(8) of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, information on the limits of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured in respect of French Polynesia on 6 April 2018, and that Mauritius has done so in respect of the Southern Chagos Archipelago region on 26 March 2019.

Additionally, the plenary will conduct the election of officers, given that pursuant to rule 13 (term of office) of the Commission’s rules of procedure, the two-and-half-year term of office of its officers (Chair and Vice-Chairs) will expire later in 2019.

Furthermore, the Chair will inform the Commission about relevant deliberations that took place at the twenty-ninth Meeting of States Parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Background

Established pursuant to article 2, annex II to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Commission is a body of 21 experts in the field of geology, geophysics or hydrography.  They serve in their personal capacities.  Members of the Commission are elected for a term of five years by the Meeting of States Parties to the Convention from among their nationals having due regard to the need to ensure equitable geographical representation.  No fewer than three members shall be elected from each geographical region.  Currently, one seat on the Commission continues to be vacant due to the lack of nominations from the Eastern European Group of States.

The Convention provides that the State party which submitted the nomination of a member of the Commission shall defray the expenses of that member while in performance of Commission duties.  However, the participation of several members of the Commission from developing countries has been facilitated by financial assistance from a voluntary trust fund for the purpose of defraying such costs of participation of the members of the Commission from developing countries.

Under rule 23 of its Rules of Procedure (public and private meetings), the meetings of the Commission, its subcommissions and subsidiary bodies are held in private, unless the Commission decides otherwise.

The Commission makes recommendations to coastal States on matters related to the establishment of the outer limits of their continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured, based on information submitted to it by coastal States.  These recommendations are based on the scientific and technical data and other material provided by States in relation to the implementation of article 76 of the Convention.  The recommendations do not prejudice matters relating to the delimitation of boundaries between States with opposite or adjacent coasts, or prejudice the position of States that are parties to a land or maritime dispute, or application of other parts of the Convention or any other treaties.  The limits of the continental shelf established by a coastal State on the basis of these recommendations shall be final and binding.  In the case of disagreement by the coastal State with the recommendations of the Commission, the coastal State shall, within a reasonable time, make a revised or new submission to the Commission.

As required under the Rules of Procedure of the Commission, the executive summaries of all the submissions, including all charts and coordinates, have been made public by the Secretary-General through continental shelf notifications circulated to Member States of the United Nations, as well as States parties to the Convention.  The executive summaries are available on the Division’s website at:  www.un.org/depts/los/clcs_new/clcs_home.htm.  The summaries of recommendations adopted by the Commission are also available on the above-referenced website.

For additional information on the work of the Commission see the website of the Division at www.un.org/depts/los/index.htm.  In particular, the most recent statements by the Chair on the progress in the work of the Commission are available at www.un.org/depts/los/clcs_new/commission_documents.

For information media. Not an official record.