Long wait seen for continental shelf deliberation

Guyana is currently 54th in line to be considered for a continental shelf extension and with a voluntary sub-commission being appointed at the UNCLCS it may take years.

Guyana’s foreign affairs minister Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkette revealed Guyana’s status at a press conference on Monday, noting that finding additional resources to allow the sub-commission to conduct their work was a priority.

As of December 2013 the trust fund which facilitates the preparation of submissions to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (UNCLCS) was just under US$1.3 million. Rodrigues-Birkette noted that not only was funding an issue but because the work was voluntary the number of days’ assessments would take was another issue. She said that no timeline would be adhered to at this moment.

In April of 2012, Rodrigues-Birkette made an oral presentation in support of Guyana’s  submission for an extended continental shelf to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf at the headquarters of the United Nations in New York. Guyana is requesting an additional 150 nautical miles from the 200 mile exclusive economic zone.

Venezuela has objected to Guyana’s application. At the Caricom foreign ministers meeting in May of 2012 heads of states called the objection regrettable.

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