NEW YORK, 25 January (Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea) — The Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf will hold its forty-ninth session from 28 January to 15 March. The plenary parts of the session will be held from 4 to 8 February and from 4 to 8 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.
During the forty-ninth 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 continue its consideration of the draft recommendations in regard to the submission made by Norway in respect of Bouvetøya. The Commission will also commence its consideration of the draft recommendations in regard to the submission made by the Tonga in respect of the eastern part of the Kermadec Ridge, which were transmitted to the Commission by the subcommission established to consider this submission at the forty-eighth session.
Several coastal States, that have not yet done so, were invited to make presentations of their submissions at the plenary. Three of them, Benin and Togo, jointly, and Liberia have accepted this invitation.
Established pursuant to article 2, annex II to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Commission is a body of 21 experts in the field of geology, geophysics or hydrography. They serve in their personal capacities. 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. No fewer than three members shall be elected from each geographical region. Currently, one seat on the Commission is vacant due to the lack of nominations from one of those regions. This is the first session of the Commission that will be attended by Yong Tang (China) who was elected at the resumed twenty-eighth Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on the Law of the Sea on 15 January. His election filled the vacancy in the Commission which resulted from the resignation of Wenzheng Lyu (China) on 25 July 2018.
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.
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. In particular, the most recent Statements by the Chair on the progress in the work of the Commission are available at www.un.org/depts/los/clcs_new/commission_documents.