Commission on Limits of Continental Shelf Concludes Fifty-Fourth Session

NEW YORK, 21 March (Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea) ? The Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf held its fifty-fourth session at United Nations Headquarters from 21 February to 11 March. The plenary part of the session was held on 28 February and on 1, 3 and 4 March. The remainder of the session was devoted to the technical examination of submissions at the geographic information systems laboratories and other technical facilities of the Division.

Ten submissions were on the agenda of the session, namely those 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). This was the first session of the Commission after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in which plenary and in-person meetings with Delegations were possible.

During the plenary part of the session, the Commission heard presentations of two recent submissions: The delegation of Bangladesh, led by the Foreign Minister of the Government of Bangladesh, A. K. Abdul Momen, presented its amended submission. The delegations of Costa Rica and Ecuador presented their joint partial submission in the Panama Basin to the Commission.

The Commission appointed the newly elected member of the Commission, Antonio Fernando Garcez Faria (Brazil), to the subcommissions established for the consideration of the submissions made by the Russian Federation; France and South Africa, jointly; Kenya; and India.

The Commission addressed the issue of the attendance of its members, and in the light of the continuous and extended absences of some members revisited the appointments of members of subcommissions.

Further details of the fifty-fourth session will be available in the Statement of the Chair (document CLCS/54/2).

The Commission will hold its fifty-fifth session from 5 July to 19 August, with plenary sessions to be held from 25 to 29 July and 8 to 12 August.


Established pursuant to article 2, annex II to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, 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.

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.

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 The summaries of recommendations adopted by the Commission are also available on the above-referenced website.

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 fewer 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. 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.

For additional information on the work of the Commission, please visit the website of the Division at In particular, the most recent statements by the Chair on the progress in the work of the Commission are available at

Source: United Nations