SIERRA LEONE CO-SPONSORS JOINT SUBMISSION TO THE DIVISION FOR OCEAN AFFAIRS AND THE LAW OF THE SEA (DOALOS) AT THE 69TH SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY IN NEW YORK.
Following completion of preparations by member states of the Sub-regional Project for the extension of their continental shelves beyond 200 nautical miles, Sierra Leone together with the six other West African Coastal States – Cabo Verde (Cape Verde), Guinea, Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea Bissau and Mauritania – made a Joint Submission to the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea (DOALOS) of the United Nations in New York, USA on Wednesday 25th September, 2014 during the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly.
PHOTO : OFFICIALS OF THE VARIOUS DELEGATIONS DURING THE SUBMISSION
Representing the Foreign Minister at this historic ceremony on behalf of the Sierra Leone Delegation were the Director of International and Legal Affairs Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr. Duwai S. Lungay, and the Minister Counselor/Head of Chancery of the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Sierra Leone to the United Nations in New York, Mr. Alhusine M. Sesay.
Presenting the document on behalf of the seven coastal states, the Permanent Representative of Cabo Verde (Cape Verde), Mr. Fernando Jorge Wahnon Ferreira, in their capacity as Co-chair and host of the Secretariat of the Continental Shelf Extension Project, welcomed members of the Norwegian technical team and the distinguished representatives of the brotherly countries to the Joint Submission ceremony. Noting the importance of the ceremony, he stressed that this was the first ever sub-regional initiative on the establishment of the Outer Limits of the Continental Shelf beyond 200 Nautical Miles. He Commended the members of the sub-regional project for the solidarity and spirit of cooperation demonstrated in the entire process that has led to its successful completion. He also paid tribute to the Norwegian Government for their technical and financial support towards the exercise, including the dedicated and committed guidance of the late Ambassador Hans Wilheim Longva. He called on the United Nations Secretariat to urgently consider the report of the group of the seven West African countries with a view to its early implementation.
OFFICIALS SEEN HERE DURING THE OCCASION
Receiving the Report on behalf of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS), the Director of DOALOS, Ms. Gabriele Goettsche-Wanli, welcomed the initiative of this group of West African countries and intimated that this was submission No. 75 received by the Division. Underscoring the level of collaboration among the member states, the Director observed that this was the largest group of countries to have made a Joint Submission. She confirmed that the Submission would be included on the Commission’s agenda for consideration at the CLCS Session of February 2015.
Sierra Leone joined the initiative of the seven countries in 2012, by initially signing a bilateral agreement with the Republic of Guinea, a founder member of the initiative, as this was a pre-condition for Sierra Leone to qualify for membership of the project.
This submission exercise was undertaken in fulfillment of Article 76 and Article 4 of Annex II of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), following the June 2014 Praia Ministerial Declaration of the States Parties.
In conclusion, the member states were encouraged to keep their respective teams of experts in readiness for the eventual presentation of their Joint Submission to the CLCS for consideration in February, 2015. The climax of the ceremony was the presentation of the French and English Versions of the document to the Director of DOALOS.
The approval and adoption of the Project will lead to an increase in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ ) of each of the seven West African coastal states by an additional 150 nautical miles.
It will also lead to increased cooperation and collaboration between the Kingdom of Norway and the seven coastal states in capacity building and in the acquisition of special rights over the exploration and use of marine resources including oil and gas exploration and energy production.