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United Nations Convention on the Continental Shelf

Category: Event
Date: 29 April 1958
Sub Category:Convention
Summary Information:
The United Nations Convention on the Continental Shelf (the Convention) was agreed to in Geneva on the 29 April 1958 and entered into force on 10 June 1964. The Convention relates to rights of states to explore and exploit natural resources of the continental shelf. The 1858 Convention was largely superceded by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Detailed Information:
In Article 1 of the Convention the term 'continental shelf' is used to refer:

(a) to the seabed and subsoil of the submarine areas adjacent to the coast but outside the area of the territorial sea, to a depth of 200 metres or, beyond that limit, to where the depth of the superjacent waters admits of the exploitation of the natural resources of the said areas;

(b) to the seabed and subsoil of similar submarine areas adjacent to the coasts of islands.

By Article 2, coastal states can exercise their sovereign rights for the purpose of exploring and exploiting the natural resources of the continental shelf.

Article 6 provides for the situation where the same continental shelf is shared by two or more states whose coasts are opposite or adjacent to each other. Article 6 states:

1. Where the same continental shelf is adjacent to the territories of two or more States whose coasts are opposite each other, the boundary of the continental shelf appertaining to such States shall be determined by agreement between them. In the absence of agreement, and unless another boundary line is justified by special circumstances, the boundary is the median line, every point of which is equidistant from the nearest points of the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea of each State is measured.

2. Where the same continental shelf is adjacent to the territories of two adjacent States, the boundary of the continental shelf shall be determined by agreement between them. In the absence of agreement, and unless another boundary line is justified by special circumstances, the boundary shall be determined by application of the principle of equidistance from the nearest points of the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea of each State is measured.

Related Entries

Agreement
  • TIMOR GAP TREATY between Australia and the Republic of Indonesia on the Zone of cooperation in an area between the Indonesian Province of East Timor and Northern Australia
  • Treaty between the Government of Australia and the Government of the Republic of Indonesia establishing an Exclusive Economic Zone Boundary and Certain Seabed Boundaries
  • 1972 Seabed Boundaries Agreement between the Commonwealth of Australia and the Republic of Indonesia on Seabed Boundaries in the Area of the Timor and Arafura Seas.

  • References

    Resource
    United Nations International Law Commission United Nations Convention on the Continental Shelf

    Glossary

    International Convention

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