|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
COMMISSION ON LIMITS OF CONTINENTAL SHELF TO HOLD PLENARY PART
OF NINETEENTH SESSION IN NEW YORK FROM 26 MARCH TO 5 APRIL
NEW YORK, 19 March (Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea) -- The General Assembly, at its sixty-first session, approved the convening of the nineteenth session of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf from 5 March to 13 April on the understanding that the periods from 5 to 23 March and from 9 to 13 April would be used for the technical examination of submissions at the Geographic Information System (GIS) laboratories and other technical facilities of the Division. The Plenary of the session will take place from 26 March to 5 April 2007.
The Commission is currently examining the submissions made by Australia, Brazil, Ireland and New Zealand, as well as the partial joint submission made by France, Ireland, Spain and the United Kingdom. At this session, the Commission will also consider a new submission, that of Norway.
The submission by Norway is the seventh submission received by the Commission. The first was made by the Russian Federation in 2001. The second and third were made respectively by Brazil and Australia in 2004. The fourth was made by Ireland in 2005. The fifth submission was the partial joint submission made by France, Ireland, Spain and the United Kingdom in 2006. The sixth was the submission by New Zealand in 2006. (See Press Release SEA/1874.)
The submission by Norway, containing scientific and technical data, and information on the proposed outer limits of the continental shelf, was delivered to the Secretary-General of the United Nations on 27 November 2006 in accordance with the deadline provided for in article 4 of annex II to the United Nations Convention on the law of the Sea of 10 December 1982.
As required under the Rules of Procedure of the Commission (CLCS/40), the executive summary of the Norwegian submission, including all charts and coordinates, was made public by the Secretary-General through a note verbale dated 21 December 2006, which was circulated to all Member States of the United Nations, including the States parties to the Convention. The note verbale was also posted on the website of the Commission, maintained by the United Nations Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea (DOALOS): www.un.org/depts/los.
The submissions to the Commission are made pursuant to article 76, paragraph 8, of the Convention, which provides that, if a coastal State intends to establish the outer limits of its continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles, information on such limits “shall be submitted by the coastal State to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf. […] The Commission shall make recommendations to coastal States on matters related to the establishment of the outer limits of their continental shelf. The limits of the shelf established by a coastal State on the basis of these recommendations shall be final and binding.”
Article 4 of annex II to the Convention establishes that a coastal State must make its submission “as soon as possible, but in any case within 10 years of the entry into force of this Convention for that State”. However, as a result of a decision taken by the Meeting of States Parties to the Convention, the commencement of this 10-year period was postponed for some countries, in order to take into consideration that it was only after the adoption by the Commission of its Scientific and Technical Guidelines on 13 May 1999 that States had before them the basic documents concerning the preparation of submissions. The eleventh Meeting decided that, “in the case of a State Party for which the Convention entered into force before 13 May 1999, it is understood that the 10-year time period referred to in article 4 of annex II to the Convention shall be taken to have commenced on 13 May 1999” (document SPLOS/72).
As provided by article 5 of annex II to the Convention, “unless the Commission decides otherwise, the Commission shall function by way of subcommissions composed of seven members, appointed in a balanced manner taking into account the specific elements of each submission by a coastal State”. All five submissions currently under examinations are being considered by subcomissions. At the nineteenth session, the Commission may establish one additional subcommission to examine the new submission by Norway.
The Commission will also consider training issues and will be briefed on the capacity-building activities carried out by DOALOS. It will be recalled that DOALOS, with the expert assistance of two members of the Commission acting in their personal capacities, has prepared a training manual to assist States in developing the knowledge and skills necessary to prepare a submission in conformity with the Guidelines developed by the Commission. On the basis of this manual, four United Nations training courses for developing countries with potential for extended continental shelf were organized at the regional level in 2005 and 2006. Additionally, a training course was organized at the subregional level in Brunei Darussalam from 12 to 16 February.
The term of office for the current members of the Commission expires in June 2007. Election for the new Commission is scheduled to take place on 14 June 2007 at the seventeenth Meeting of States Parties to the Convention.
The twentieth session of the Commission is scheduled to be held from 20 August to 7 September 2007.
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