Dhaka, 14 June 2018
“As a party to UNCLOS, Bangladesh has always emphasized on the peaceful use of the oceans, the equitable and efficient utilization of the resources, the conservation of the living resources and the protection and preservation of the marine environment”, said Rear Admiral Khurshed Alam, Secretary (Maritime Affairs Unit) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He is leading the Bangladesh delegation at the 28th Meeting of States Parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) which is being held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The Meeting has been attended by delegations from almost all the States Parties to the UNCLOS.
During the session on the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS), Mr. Khurshed Alam stated that the Commission has considered as many as 13 submissions made by several states during the year in review yet Bangladesh could not know when its submissions will come up for review. Bangladesh delegation informed the Meeting that it had submitted its most significant claim on the extended Continental Shelf to the CLCS on 25 February 2011 within the deadline as per the UNCLOS. This Submission completed the outstanding obligation of Bangladesh as per article 76 of the UNCLOS 1982 in submitting scientific and technical information to the CLCS in support of its claim to the Extended Continental Shelf beyond 200 nautical miles. The Delegation made explicitly clear to the CLCS that uncertainty in forming a Sub-commission for Bangladesh poses serious problems, firstly in preserving the institutional memory and secondly keeping the sophisticated software used for storing these highly sensitive data updated. Bangladesh requested the Commission to come up with the best possible efficient way to address the workload so that the Sub-commission on Bangladesh’s Submission is formed within shortest possible time.
Bangladesh also congratulated the special chamber established under the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS)in adjudicating the dispute concerning Delimitation of the Maritime Boundary between Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire in the Atlantic Ocean which successfully delivered its judgment on 23 September 2017. This is another precedence set by the ITLOS in giving its judgement on the basis of equidistance while many does not appreciate how Bangladesh in the Bangladesh-Myanmar Maritime Boundary Delimitation Judgement got an equitable solution. Bangladesh also commended the Tribunal for the on-going proceedings on the M/V “Norstar” Case (Panama vs. Italy) which is going to be a milestone judgement of the Tribunal to ensure international navigation free from the likely intrusion of the coastal states.
Bangladesh also requested the Tribunal to ensure appropriate representation of the LDCs and the SIDS in the training programmes and internship programmes that take place under the auspices of the Tribunal.
It can be said that active participation of Bangladesh in the Meeting will further strengthen Bangladesh’s position at international arena, particularly on the 28th meeting of the states parties to UNCLOS in claiming our rightful share in the resources of the ocean.