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Intervention delivered by Mrs. Sonali Samarasinghe, Minister, under Agenda Item 10 concerning the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, at the Twenty Eighth Meeting of States Parties to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea

Monday, 11 June 2018
Mrs. Sonali Samarasinghe

Sri Lanka Statement
By Mrs. Sonali Samarasinghe, Minister
Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nations
28th Meeting of States Parties to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea
Conference Room 1, UNHQ, New York
Monday 11 June 2018

Thank you Chair

As this is the first time Sri Lanka takes the floor let me congratulate you on your assumption of duties as President of the Meeting. Sri Lanka stands ready to support you in your important work.

We would also like to warmly congratulate the Mr. Yong Ahn Park Chairperson of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf on his election last year, and thank him for his comprehensive report.

We wholeheartedly support the three key institutions established by the Convention on the Law of the Sea, namely the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, and the International Seabed Authority, which have played and continue to play, critical roles in enabling developing countries like Sri Lanka, among others, reap the benefits of ocean resources, in particular, the prospective exploitation of the continental shelf, in a sustainable and equitable manner. The work of CLCS in particular gains added importance as the Continental shelf of each country is unique to its geological surroundings and warrants careful consideration by the CLCS including special methods as designated under the terms of UNCLOS for the southern part of the Bay of Bengal, in order to reach just and equitable outcomes in relation to the determination of the outer limits.

As a state currently appearing before the CLCS, it is our hope that the conditions of service of the members of the Commission including the provision of medical coverage and working methods would be addressed in a satisfactory manner so that the members can continue their work unhindered in a proper working environment, and achieve progress in expediting their workload. We acknowledge and congratulate the CLCS for concluding a record number of submissions despite these challenges.

We are concerned with the limitations placed on the Commission due to the absence of one member and the lack of nominations to fill the vacant seat. We hope this matter can be addressed as expeditiously as possible so the Commission members can run at full capacity and not be overburdened.

We urge the Secretary General to take appropriate measures within overall existing resource levels to further strengthen the capacity of the Division of Ocean Affairs and Law of the Sea serving as the Secretariat of the Commission, in order to ensure enhanced support and assistance to the Commission and its sub commissions in their considerations of submissions.

At this time we would also sincerely wish to thank the governments of countries contributing to the Trust fund for defraying the cost of the participation of CLCS members from developing states.