Law of Sea States Parties Fill 19 of 21 Seats on Commission on Continental Shelf Mandated to Determine Coastal States’ Jurisdiction Beyond 200 Nautical Miles

6 June 2012
SEA/1971

Law of Sea States Parties Fill 19 of 21 Seats on Commission on Continental Shelf Mandated to Determine Coastal States’ Jurisdiction Beyond 200 Nautical Miles

6 June 2012
Meetings Coverage
SEA/1971
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Meeting of States Parties

 to Law of Sea Convention

153rd & 154th Meetings (AM & PM)

Law of Sea States Parties Fill 19 of 21 Seats on Commission on Continental Shelf

Mandated to Determine Coastal States’ Jurisdiction Beyond 200 Nautical Miles

Election to ‘Floating’ Seat Continues, Remaining Slot Postponed

Reaching the midpoint of its twenty-second annual session, the Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on the Law of the Sea today elected 19 members to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, the preeminent international body charged with making recommendations to coastal States on matters related to their outermost limits.

Two seats remained vacant:  one “floating” seat, slated to be filled from among the various regional groups — to which the Meeting would return tomorrow — and one seat allotted to the Group of Eastern European States, which was postponed until later this year.

In line with the terms of the landmark 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Commission consists of 21 members who are experts in the fields of geology, geophysics or hydrography.  They are elected to five-year terms, meaning that the terms of those elected today would begin on 16 June 2012 and end on 15 June 2017.

In accordance with the rules of procedure, and with a note by the Secretary-General (document SPLOS/238), the members elected should represent an agreed-upon geographic distribution, with no fewer than three members of the Commission elected from each geographic region.  Members are elected by secret ballot, with those elected receiving a majority of two thirds of the votes of those present and voting.  A list of nominations and their curriculum vitae were circulated in documents SPLOS/239 and SPLOS/240, respectively.

Prior to the vote, the President of the Meeting of States parties recalled that, in consultations earlier this year, an agreement had been reached within the Meeting to elect members according to a geographic arrangement as follows:  5 seats for the African States, 5 seats for the Asian and Pacific States, 3 seats for the Eastern European States, 4 seats for the Latin American and Caribbean States, 3 seats for the Western European and Other States and 1 “floating” seat, to be filled from among all the regional groups.

Also before the vote, the representative of Belarus stated that the Group of Eastern European States wished to postpone the election of one of its three members to a later date this year.

In other action prior to the vote, the Government of Indonesia circulated a note verbale announcing its decision to withdraw the nomination of Yusuf Surachman Djajadihardja for election to the Commission.  Similarly, the Government of Saudi Arabia circulated a note announcing its decision to withdraw its candidate, Mohammed Bin Hamid Al-Harbi.

In the first round of voting, the following five candidates were elected from the African Group of States:  Isaac Owusu Oduro of Ghana, with 157 votes; Lawrence Folajimi Awosika of Nigeria with 155 votes; Estevao Stefane Mahanjane of Mozambique, with 154 votes; Simon Njuguna of Kenya, with 153 votes; and Emmanuel Kalngui of Cameroon, with 152 votes.

From the Group of Asian and Pacific States, the following four candidates were elected:  Lu Wenzheng of China, with 126 votes; Tetsuro Urabe of Japan, with 123 votes; Yong Ahn Park of the Republic of Korea, with 117 votes; and Sivaramakrishnan Rajan of India, with 112 votes.  Failing to receive the necessary 106 votes to constitute a majority of those voting were Mazlan Bin Madon of Malaysia, with 96 votes; Muhammad Arshad of Pakistan and Mario Juan A. Aurelio of the Philippines, with 73 votes each; and Nguyen Nhu Trung of Viet Nam, with 64 votes.

From the Group of Eastern European States, two candidates were elected:  Ivan F. Glumov of the Russian Federation, with 152 votes; and George Jaoshvili of Georgia, with 141 votes.

From the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States, the following four candidates were elected:  Jair Alberto Ribas Marques of Brazil, with 155 votes; Francis L. Charles of Trinidad and Tobago, with 153 votes; Galo Carrera of Mexico, with 148 votes; and Carlos Marcelo Paterlini of Argentina, with 150 votes.

From the Group of Western European and Other States, the following three candidates were elected:  Richard Thomas Haworth, nominated by Australia, Canada and New Zealand, with 124 votes; Martin Vang Heinesen of Denmark, with 123 votes; and Walter R. Roest of France, with 113 votes.  Failing to receive 104 votes to constitute a majority of those voting was Luis Somoza Losada of Spain, with 89 votes.

As only four of the five allotted seats for the Asia Pacific Group were filled in the first round of voting, the Meeting held a second round of voting this afternoon to fill one remaining slot.  However, during that round, none of the three eligible candidates received the 102 votes required to constitute a majority of those present and voting.

The Meeting then proceeded to a third round of voting, electing Mazlan Bin Madon of Malaysia, with 102 votes.  

Turning to the second part of its election — in which one “floating” seat was to be filled from among all the regional groups — the States parties voted from among candidates not elected in the previous part of the election process.  However, as none of those candidates received the 103 votes required to constitute a majority, the Meeting held a restricted second round of voting.  In that second round, again, no candidate was able to reach the required majority.

Proceeding to a restricted third round of voting, the States parties once again failed to elect a candidate to fill the “floating” seat on the Commission.  The Chair announced that a fourth round of voting would be held tomorrow, 7 June.

In other business today, the Meeting adopted the report of the Credentials Committee (document SPLOS/248), which was presented by its Chairperson, Rita Silek (Hungary).

The Meeting of States Parties will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Thursday, 7 June, to continue its election to the Commission and to consider other matters on its agenda.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.