Commission on Limits of Continental Shelf Concludes Forty-Sixth Session

The Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf held its forty-sixth session at United Nations Headquarters from 29 January to 16 March. The first plenary part of the session was held from 5 to 9 February and the second from 5 to 9 March. The remaining five weeks were devoted to the technical examination of submissions at the geographic information systems laboratories and other technical facilities of the Division.

Nine subcommissions met during the forty-sixth session to consider submissions. 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); Kenya; Nigeria; France in respect of La Reunion Island and Saint-Paul and Amsterdam Islands; CAte d’Ivoire; Sri Lanka; Portugal; and Tonga in respect of the eastern part of the Kermadec Ridge. The consideration of the latter commenced at this session by a newly established subcommission. The subcommission established for consideration of the submission of France and South Africa, jointly, in respect of the area of the Crozet Archipelago and the Prince Edward Islands met to discuss organizational issues.

Several submissions were presented by the delegations of their respective submitting States before the plenary, namely the submissions made by Brazil in respect of the Brazilian Equatorial Margin (partial revised submission), Canada in respect of the Atlantic Ocean, and Oman. Palau also made a presentation before the plenary of the Commission, to address the amendments made to its original submission.

The Commission continued its consideration of draft recommendations in regard of the partial submission made by Seychelles in respect of the Northern Plateau Region, which will resume at the forty-seventh session. At the request of Norway, the Commission deferred further consideration of the draft recommendations regarding the submission made by Norway in respect of BouvetA�ya and Dronning Maud Land to the forty-seventh session.

Further details of the forty-sixth session will be available in the Statement of the Chair (document CLCS/103).

In 2018, the Commission will hold two more sessions as follows: the forty seventh session from 16 July to 31 August, with plenary sessions from 6 to 10 August and 27 to 31 August; and the forty-eighth session from 15 October to 30 November, 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 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 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. The executive summaries are available on the Division’s website at: The summaries of recommendations adopted by the Commission are also available on the above-referenced website.

Source: United Nations