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SEA/2121
22 January 2020

Commission on Limits Of Continental Shelf to Hold Fifty-Second Session at Headquarters, 27 January–13 March

NEW YORK, 23 January (United Nations Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea) — The Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf will hold its fifty-second session from 27 January to 13 March.  The plenary parts of the session will be held from 3 to 7 February and from 2 to 6 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.

This will be the first session of the Commission to be chaired by Adnan al‑Azri (Oman), who was elected Chair of the Commission at the fiftieth session.

During the fifty-second session, 10 subcommissions will continue to consider submissions made by the Russian Federation in respect of the Arctic Ocean (partial revised Submission); Brazil in respect of the Brazilian Equatorial Margin (partial revised Submission); France and South Africa jointly in respect of the area of the Crozet Archipelago and the Prince Edward Islands; Kenya; Nigeria; Palau in respect of the North Area (partial amended Submission); Sri Lanka; Portugal; Spain in respect of the area of Galicia (partial submission); and India (partial Submission).

The plenary of the Commission will continue its consideration of the draft recommendations in regard to the submission made by Côte d’Ivoire and France in respect of La Réunion Island and the Saint-Paul and Amsterdam Islands.

Several coastal States were invited to make presentations of their new submissions at the plenary.  One of them, Indonesia, has accepted this invitation whereas the others have chosen to make such presentations at a later stage.  Such decision does not affect the position of these submissions in the queue.

Background

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.  Not less than three members shall be elected from each geographical region.  Currently, one seat on the Commission continues to be vacant due to the lack of nominations from the Eastern European Group of States.

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, please visit 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.

For information media. Not an official record.