NEW YORK, 5 December (Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea) � The Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf held its forty fifth session at United Nations Headquarters from 16 October to 1 December. There was no plenary part during the session and its seven weeks were devoted entirely to the technical examination of submissions at the geographic information systems laboratories and other technical facilities of the Division.
Nine subcommissions worked during the forty fifth session. These were the subcommissions established for consideration of the 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 Reunion Island and Saint Paul and Amsterdam Islands; CAte d’Ivoire; Sri Lanka and Portugal. Also, as decided at the previous session, two meetings of all members of the Commission were held to discuss the application of various elements of the Statement of Understanding annexed to the Final Act of the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea.
In 2018, the Commission will hold three sessions as follows: the forty sixth session from 29 January to 16 March 2018, with plenary sessions from 5 to 9 February 2018 and from 5 to 9 March 2018; the forty seventh session from 16 July to 31 August 2018, with plenary sessions from 6 to 10 August 2018 and 27 to 31 August 2018; and the forty eighth session from 15 October to 30 November 2018, without plenary sessions.
The Commission is a body of 21 experts in the field of geology, geophysics or hydrography, which was established pursuant to article 2, annex II to the Convention. 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 their participation costs.
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. Those 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 those 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 United Nations Member States, as well as States parties to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Source: United Nations