NEW YORK, 28 March 2016 (Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea) — The Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf held its fortieth session at United Nations Headquarters from 1 February to 18 March 2016. Besides the two weeks of plenary meetings (8 to 12 February and 7 to 11 March), the Commission, working through its subcommissions, devoted five weeks to the technical examination of submissions at the Geographic Information Systems laboratories and other technical facilities of the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea.
The active subcommissions continued their work during the fortieth session. These were the subcommissions established for consideration of the submissions made by Brazil in respect of the Brazilian Southern Region (partial revised submission); Norway in respect of Bouvetøya and Dronning Maud Land; South Africa in respect of the mainland of the territory of South Africa; the Federated States of Micronesia, Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands, jointly, concerning the Ontong Java Plateau; France and South Africa, jointly, in the area of the Crozet Archipelago and the Prince Edward Islands; Kenya; Mauritius in the region of Rodrigues Island; and Nigeria. Some subcommissions met with the respective delegations.
At the plenary level, the Commission adopted, without a vote, two sets of recommendations, namely the recommendations in respect to the submission made by Argentina, and the recommendations in respect to the submission made by Iceland in respect of the Ægir Basin area and in the western and southern parts of Reykjanes Ridge. With regard to the recommendations in respect of the submission made by Argentina, it is recalled that, previously, the Commission had already decided that it was not in a position to consider and qualify those parts of the submission that were subject to dispute and those parts that were related to the continental shelf appurtenant to Antarctica (see CLCS/64, paras. 76 and 77 and CLCS/76 para. 57).
The Commission also continued, at the plenary level, its consideration of draft recommendations in respect to the submission made by the Cook Islands, concerning the Manihiki Plateau and commenced its consideration of draft recommendations in respect to the submission made by Uruguay.
The Russian Federation, headed by Sergei E. Donskoi, Minister for Natural Resources and Environment, presented its partial revised submission in respect of the Arctic Ocean before the plenary of the Commission. The Commission assigned the examination of the submission to the subcommission established to consider the submission made by the Russian Federation on 20 December 2001.
Also, the Commission established a new subcommission to consider the submission made by Seychelles concerning the Northern Plateau Region, which has begun its work.
The Commission decided that it would hold three weeks of plenary meetings during the forty-third session in order to consider draft recommendations submitted to the plenary before the term of office of the current members expires in June 2017.
Details of the fortieth session will be reflected in the Statement by the Chairperson of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf on the progress of work in the Commission, which will be issued as document CLCS/93.
For additional information on the work of the Commission, see the website of the Division at www.un.org/Depts/los/index.htm.