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Xinhua: 7 Pacific countries race against time as deadline to claim extra ocean space draws near
www.chinaview.cn 2008-05-12 13:55:53
WELLINGTON, May 12 (Xinhua) -- Fiji and six other Pacific island countries are beginning to feel pressure to complete their submissions to the United Nations to claim extra ocean space, with only one year remaining to the May 2009 deadline.
Fiji along with Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Palau, the Federate States of Micronesia, Tonga and Papua New Guinea have a credible claim to more than 1.5 million square kilometers of additional space beyond their current 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ),the Suva-based PACNEWS regional news agency reported on Monday.
This is being made possible under Article 76 of the International Law of the Sea, the report said.
A week-long workshop on the preparation on Fiji's submission on Extended Continental Shelf (ECS) began Monday in Fiji and was coordinated by the Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC) and Geoscience Australia (GA) and the UN Environment Program (UNEP) Shelf Program.
It was the first time the pacific region to combine the efforts in its bid to extend the exclusive economic zones.
SOPAC, GA and UNEP would help these countries to complete the activities required to delineate the outer limits of their continental shelf.
These countries are currently faced with the costly and complex work of data identification, collection, analysis and submission preparation, the PACNEWS reported.
Due to limited technical and financial capacity, they may not be able to complete the submission process without considerable external support, both technical and financial. This is being made possible under article 76 of the International Law of the Sea. Submissions to claim an extended continental shelf must be based upon sound technical data and meet requirements prescribed within Article 76 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS), to secure an extended Continental Shelf beyond the 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone. Afridi said 191 countries had signed the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer and were committed to phase out the use of ODS to ensure sustained life on earth.
5:00AM Saturday May 10, 2008