Norway submits documentation on the extent of its continental shelf

Norway submitted documentation on the extent of its continental shelf in the High North in New York November 27.

30/11/2006 :: This is in accordance with Norway’s international obligations. The purpose is to determine the boundary between the Norwegian continental shelf and the international seabed. Norway has submitted documentation showing that the part of the continental shelf extending beyond its 200-mile zone covers areas measuring some 250 000 square kilometres in the Norwegian Sea, the Barents Sea and the Arctic Ocean.

“This is a historic day for Norwegian High North policy. We are laying the foundation for establishing finally the extent of the coastal state’s authority and responsibility for the seabed. This is therefore an important contribution to the Government’s efforts to create clear, predictable conditions for activities in the High North. The implementation of the rules of the law of the sea is also important in a broader international perspective,” said Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.

Norway’s documentation has now been submitted to the international Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf. The CLCS was established in accordance with the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which came into force for Norway in 1996. According to the convention, coastal states are not required to document the extent of their continental shelf within a distance of 200 nautical miles. However, a number of states, including Norway, have continental shelves that extend beyond 200 nautical miles in accordance with criteria set out in the convention. These states are required to submit technical and scientific data to the CLCS on the actual extent of their shelves within a period of ten years. The CLCS then considers the submission and recommends how the outer limits of the continental shelf should be determined. The CLCS does not deal with unresolved issues concerning delimitation lines between neighbouring states, as these issues are subject to negotiations between such states. Norway has cooperated closely with neighbouring countries in preparing its submission.

See here for more information on the continental shelf.

(Published 30.11.06)


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