|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
States Parties to United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea Will
Hold Twentieth Meeting at New York Headquarters, 14-18 June
The twentieth Meeting of States Parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea will be held at Headquarters from 14 to 18 June.
Often referred to as “the constitution of the oceans”, the landmark Convention was adopted on 10 December 1982 and entered into force on 16 November 1994. Its 320 articles and nine annexes govern all aspects of ocean space and maritime issues, from navigational rights, maritime limits and marine scientific research to resource management, marine environment protection and dispute settlement. The three bodies established by the Convention are the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, the International Seabed Authority, and the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.
Among the matters to be considered during next week’s session are administrative and budgetary questions related to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea and information reported by the Secretary-General of the International Seabed Authority and the Chairman of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf. The provisional agenda for the twentieth Meeting of States Parties is contained in document SPLOS/L.63.
International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea
The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea was established to adjudicate disputes arising out of the interpretation and application of the Convention. It has exclusive jurisdiction in disputes concerning deep seabed mineral resources and provides advisory opinions when requested to do so. The Tribunal’s jurisdiction is mandatory in cases relating to the prompt release of vessels and crew, or with regard to requests for the prescription of provisional measures pending constitution of an arbitral tribunal. Seated in Hamburg, Germany, the Tribunal is composed of 21 judges elected for nine-year terms.
International Seabed Authority
Established under the 1982 Convention and the 1994 Agreement relating to the iplementation of Part XI of that treaty, the International Seabed Authority is an autonomous organization through which States parties to the Convention shall, in accordance with the regime for the seabed and ocean floor and subsoil thereof beyond the limits of national jurisdiction (the Area) established in Part XI and the Agreement, organize and control activities in the Area, particularly with a view to administering the resources of the Area.
Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf
The Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf considers the data submitted by coastal States concerning claims to outer limits of the continental shelf that may extend beyond 200 nautical miles.
Participants in the Meeting will have before them a letter from the Chairperson of the Commission to the President of the twentieth meeting of States Parties (document SPLOS/209) on the progress of work since the nineteenth Meeting in 2009. The Chairperson reports, in particular, on proceedings during the Commission’s twenty-fourth session in 2009 and its twenty-fifth session in March and April 2010.
During the twenty-fourth session, the Commission and its subcommissions continued their consideration of France’s submission concerning French Guiana and New Caledonia, and thereafter adopted recommendations on the matter, as well as continued consideration of the submissions by Barbados, by the United Kingdom concerning Ascencion Island, and by Indonesia concerning North West of Sumatra Island. The Commission established a subcommission to examine a submission by Japan, but decided not to form a subcommission to examine a joint submission by Mauritius and Seychelles until two of the existing subcommissions had submitted their recommendations to the Commission’s plenary.
The Commission also heard presentations on the submissions by Suriname, Myanmar, the United Kingdom concerning Hatton Rockall Area, Ireland concerning Hatton Rockall Area, the Philippines in the Benham Rise region, the Cook Islands concerning Manihiki Plateau, Denmark in the area north of the Faroe Islands, Mauritius in the region of Rodrigues Island, Viet Nam concerning the North Area, Seychelles concerning the Northern Plateau Region, the joint submission by Malaysia and Viet Nam concerning the southern part of the South China Sea, as well as the submissions by Uruguay, Fiji, Argentina, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire.
During its twenty-fifth session, the Commission’s consideration of submission by Barbados and the United Kingdom’s submission concerning Ascencion Island were completed by their respective subcommissions. The Commission, on 15 April 2010, made recommendations on both. It also received an additional submission by Cuba, and heard presentations on the submissions by France concerning the French Antilles and the Kerguelen Islands; Norway concerning Bouvetoya and Dronning Maud Land; Papua New Guinea; the Solomon Islands concerning Ontong Java Plateau; the United Kingdom concerning the Falkland Islands (Malvinas), South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands; Spain concerning Galicia; the joint submission by the Federated States of Micronesia; as well as the submissions by Portugal, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Namibia and Cuba.
Regarding the Commission’s workload, the Secretariat has issued a note that will be before the Meeting (document SPLOS/208). At the time of its preparation, there were a total of 51 submissions by coastal States, while 44 sets of preliminary information transmitted to the Secretary-General gave indications of future submissions.
Administrative and Budgetary Matters
Also before the Meeting are the draft budget proposals of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea for 2011-2012 (document SPLOS/2010/WP.1), presented by the Tribunal, which state that the proposed budget for that period stands at 21.08 million euros, representing a 3.36 million euro increase from the previous biennium.
The Meeting will also have before it the report on budgetary matters for the financial periods 2007-2008 and 2009-2010 (document SPLOS/205); the Tribunal’s submission on adjustment of the remuneration of members of the Tribunal (document SPLOS/207 and Corr. 1); and a note by the Tribunal on the nomination of a member and an alternate member to the staff pension committee of the Tribunal (document SPLOS/206).
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