NEW YORK, 29 January (Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea) — The Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf will hold its forty-sixth session from 29 January to 16 March 2018. The first plenary part of the session will be held from 5 to 9 February and the second one from 5 to 9 March. 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.
As to the workload of the forty-sixth session, nine subcommissions will continue to actively consider submissions made by: the Russian Federation in respect of the Arctic Ocean (partial revised submission); Brazil in respect of the Brazilian Southern Region (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; Côte d'Ivoire; Sri Lanka; and Portugal.
Additionally, the Commission will further consider the course of its action with regard to the draft recommendations relating to the submission made by Norway in respect of Bouvetøya, which were put to vote at the forty-third session and were not approved. It will also continue its consideration of the draft recommendations relating to the submission made by Seychelles in respect of the Northern Plateau Region.
Several coastal States that have not yet done so have been invited to make presentations of their submissions at the plenary. Four of them, Brazil in respect of the Brazilian Equatorial Margin (partial revised submission), Palau, for its partial amended submission, Canada in respect of the Atlantic Ocean and Oman have accepted this invitation.
Other invited States indicated a preference to present their submissions at a future session of the Commission on the understanding that such deferrals would not affect the position of the submissions in the queue.
The Commission is a body of twenty-one experts in the field of geology, geophysics or hydrography, which was established pursuant to article 2, Annex II to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. 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. They serve in their personal capacities.
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 the cost of participation of the members of the Commission from developing countries. Since July 2017, support to these members has been possible and will continue thanks to generous contributions received so far from Ireland, Japan, Portugal and the Republic of Korea.
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.