The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea is a multilateral treaty that establishes a framework of rules and principles to govern all ocean space.
7 May 2009
Submission to UN may prove to be an important source of natural resources
Kenya has lodged a submission with the United Nations to secure access to additional areas of seabed under the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Securing exclusive access and jurisdictional certainty to the potentially lucrative resources of the seabed such as oil, gas, minerals and living marine organisms is considered by many coastal states to be crucial for their future development.
The Commonwealth Secretariat provided legal and technical advice and assistance throughout the development of the submission.
The continental shelf of a coastal state comprises the seabed and subsoil of the submarine areas that extend beyond its territorial sea throughout the natural prolongation of its land territory to the outer edge of the continental margin, or to a distance of 200 nautical miles from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured where the outer edge of the continental margin does not extend up to that distance. (Source: Article 76, 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea)
In the submission, made on 7 May 2009, Kenya seeks to confirm rights to an additional 102,000 square kilometres of continental shelf.
The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea is a multilateral treaty that establishes a framework of rules and principles to govern all ocean space. The Convention has been ratified by more than 157 countries, including some 47 Commonwealth member countries.
“The making of this submission represents a major achievement, and is the result of the hard work of a dedicated team of government officials,” said Joshua Brien, Legal Adviser at the Commonwealth Secretariat. “I am very pleased that the Secretariat has been able to assist in this endeavour."
Mr Brien explained that the area covered by the submission may one day prove to be an important source of natural resources and thereby contribute to the sustainable economic development of Kenya.
The Secretariat provided assistance during the development of the submission in the form of in-house legal expertise and the engagement of scientific and technical experts to provide advice to the government taskforce established to prepare the submission.
Mr Brien said that the submission will be formally presented to the United Nations in August this year, and will then be subject to detailed examination by the UN’s Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf. The Secretariat will be continuing to provide assistance to Kenya during the consideration of the submission.
The executive summary of the submission is publicly available at: http://www.un.org/Depts/los/clcs_new/submissions_files/submission_ken_35_2009.htm