Nigeria’s Permanent Mission to the UN said the re-election of Prof. Lawrence Folajimi Awosika as Chairman of UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) was a great achievement for the country.
The permanent mission, in a statement in New York, said Awosika’s re-election for the fifth term was a great achievement for the mission and Nigeria.
“It is also a great achievement for the new Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations, Prof. Tijjani Bande,” the statement read.
Awosika is a Nigerian Marine Geophysicist and former Director of Marine Geology/Geophysics of the Nigerian Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research Lagos.
The Mission pointed out that Awosika had been re-elected for a fifth term in the first round of balloting for another five-year term into the Commission.
The Commission, which comprises of 21 experts in the fields of Geology, Geophysics or Hydrography are elected for a term of five years.
The election of 20 members of the Commission was held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York Wednesday evening.
The 21st member of the Commission will be elected at a later date when the Eastern European Group submits its candidates.
Awosika was the outgoing Chairman having chaired the Commission in the past five years from 2012 to 2017.
“The newly elected 20 members of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf shall serve for a term of five years, commencing from July 2017 to June 2022.”
The CLCS was established following the entry into force of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
Nigeria and over 120 countries in the world have the potential to extend their maritime claim to a maximum of 350 nautical miles.
Coastal States intending to establish the outer limits of their continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles from the baseline from which the breadth of their territorial sea is measured.
They are required by Article 76 of the Convention to submit the relevant data and information to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.
“It is to be noted that Nigeria made her submission to the Commission in 1997 for an extended continental shelf. The Commission started the consideration of Nigeria’s submission in August 2014 which is still in progress. Nigeria will gain additional maritime space with the submission to the Commission. The extended continental shelf, which contains valuable resources, will enhance Nigeria’s economy,” the permanent mission said.
According to Article 76 of UNCLOS, the functions of the Commission include to consider the data and other material submitted by coastal States concerning the outer limits of the continental shelf.
Providing scientific and technical advice to coastal States is also a function of the commission.
Article 76 guides Coastal States intending to establish the outer limits of its continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles.
Such States are obligated to submit supporting scientific and technical data of submerged prolongation of the land mass of the coastal State, and consist of the seabed and subsoil of the shelf, the slope and the rise.
It, however, does not include the deep ocean floor with its oceanic ridges or the subsoil thereof.
The Commission shall then consider and analyse the data and make recommendations in writing to the coastal State which made the submission and to the Secretary-General of the UN.
The limits of the shelf established by a coastal State on the basis of these recommendations shall be final and binding.
The delineation of the continental shelf of a coastal State is in accordance with article 76 annex II to the Convention and annex II to the Final Act of the Third UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Such delineation requires a programme for hydrographic, geological, geophysical and geodetic surveying and mapping of the continental margin.