HomeUnited NationsCommission on Limits of Continental Shelf to Hold Fifty‑Fourth Session at Headquarters, 21...

Commission on Limits of Continental Shelf to Hold Fifty‑Fourth Session at Headquarters, 21 February–11 March

NEW YORK, 18 February (Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea) ― The Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf will hold its fifty-fourth session from 21 February to 11 March.  The start of the session was originally scheduled for 24 January but was postponed to 21 February due to the surge caused by the omicron variant of COVID-19.  The session will be held in-person at United Nations Headquarters with the necessary risk-mitigating measures in place.  The plenary part of the session will be held from 28 February to 4 March.  The other two weeks (21–25 February and 7–11 March) will be devoted to the technical examination of submissions by established subcommissions in the Division’s premises, including geographic information systems laboratories and other technical facilities.

This will be the first session of the Commission to be attended by Antonio Fernando Garcez Faria (Brazil), who was elected as a member of the Commission during the by-election conducted at the resumed thirty-first Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on 8 December 2021 (see Press Release SEA/2136).

During the 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.

Several coastal States were invited to make presentations of their new submissions at the plenary part of the session.  Invitations to make a presentation at the fifty-fourth session were accepted by Bangladesh; Malaysia; and Costa Rica and Ecuador, jointly.  Other submitting States that were invited to make presentations at the fifty-fourth session have chosen to make such presentations at a later stage.  Such decisions do not affect the position of these submissions in the queue.

In testimony of the importance of the work of the Commission, some of the delegations attending plenary meetings or meetings with subcommissions will be represented at the ministerial level.


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.


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