Irish Candidate to UN Law of the Sea Commission Elected
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Dermot Ahern TD and the Minister for Energy, Communications and Natural Resources Mr Eamon Ryan TD, have welcomed the re-election last night of Mr Peter Croker of Ireland as a member of the United Nations Law of the Sea Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS).
Minister Ahern said: “Mr Croker’s re-election, from a very strong field including several other candidates from EU countries, is a great tribute to him personally and professionally and underscores the high regard in which he is held by his colleagues internationally. It is also further testament to the esteem in which Ireland is held at the United Nations. Over the coming years I am determined that we will maintain and where possible intensify our commitment to the UN over the wide range of its activities.”
Also commenting on Mr Croker’s re-election, Minister Ryan said: “I am delighted that the United Nations have once again selected the eminently qualified Peter Croker. Mr Croker has proved exceptionally capable in his role as a Petroleum Exploration Specialist and was an integral part of the Irish negotiating team that secured Ireland’s rights to extend the boundaries of our continental shelf. His appointment reflects well not only on Ireland but on the Department of Communications, Energy & Natural Resources.”
Ireland has a particular interest in the work of the CLCS. Last April, Ireland became one of the first countries in the world to be permitted to extend the boundaries of its continental shelf beyond the standard 200 nautical mile limit, on the basis of binding recommendations from the Commission.
Minister Ahern added: “Elections to UN bodies require a great deal of planning and hard lobbying work in New York and around the world. I wish to pay tribute to the efforts by Ambassador David Cooney and his colleagues in New York and the staff of the Department at home and abroad who campaigned on Mr Croker’s behalf.”
Note for Editors
The Commission is an expert body established pursuant to the terms of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), to consider submissions made by States claiming extended continental shelf off their coasts. It consists of 21 members who are experts in the field of geology, geophysics or hydrography, and who serve in their personal capacities.
Under the Convention, all coastal states are permitted to claim a shelf up to 200 miles in breadth, subject to the exercise of the same rights by their neighbours. States whose continental shelves naturally extend beyond this distance must establish their limits to the satisfaction of the UN Commission on the basis of scientific data. A coastal state exercises over its continental shelf the sovereign right to exploit its natural resources, including oil and gas deposits as well as other minerals and biological resources, located on or under the seabed
Under UNCLOS, coastal States are required to make such submissions to the Commission if they wish to exercise their sovereign rights over continental shelf extending beyond 200 nautical miles from shore by furnishing scientific & legal evidence of their claims.
The Commission considers the data and other material submitted by coastal States concerning the outer limits of the continental shelf in areas where those limits extend beyond 200 nautical miles, and provides scientific and technical advice, if requested by the coastal State concerned during preparation of such data.
The Commission makes recommendations to coastal States on matters related to the establishment of the outer limits of the continental shelf. The limits of the shelf established by a coastal State on the basis of these recommendations shall be final and binding.
Ireland has been a strong supporter of the Commission to date and has worked extensively to ensure its effective functioning during a period of rapidly increasing workload and to ensure that its meetings are attended by as many of its members as possible.
Mr Croker has already served two terms on the Commission since its establishment in 1997 and has served as the Chairman since 2002.