Cabo Verde seeks extension of the continental shelf of seven African countries

26 September 2014

Cabo Verde (Cape Verde), on behalf of seven West African countries, Thursday handed the process of extension of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles to the United Nations (UN), according to an official statement released Wednesday.

In a statement, the Foreign Ministry noted that Cabo Verde was mandated by Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea Conakry, Mauritania, Senegal and Sierra Leone to deliver the request, a process that began in 2009, to the UN Division for Ocean Affairs and Law of the Sea, in New York.

The process is a joint sub-regional initiative to submit the project and is the culmination of a regional cooperation partnership, coordinated by Cape Verde and with financial and technical support from Norway.

“The establishment by the seven coastal African states of the outer limits of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles (270 kilometres) will have important implications for development, in that it provides the legal basis for them to exercise sovereign rights for exploration of natural resources,” the statement said.

The process began in 2009, as part of the Sub-Regional Cooperation Framework Agreement on Setting the Outer Limits of the Continental Shelf, prepared and signed in New York on 21 November, 2010.

According to international conventions, the “territorial sea” extends up to 12 miles (22 kilometres), over which each state has absolute jurisdiction, followed by the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), which extends up to 200 miles and finally, the Continental Shelf up to 350 miles. (macauhub/CV/GW)