The Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, with Commonwealth Secretariat Legal Adviser on natural resources, Joshua Brien.
25 February 2011
A successful submission to the UN will secure exclusive rights and access to potentially lucrative natural resources in the Bay of Bengal
Bangladesh has lodged a submission with the United Nations to secure access to additional areas of seabed under the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
This submission will provide the basis for the exploration, conservation and development of important natural and living resources in the newly claimed areas. This includes oil, gas and minerals, as well as sedentary marine life.
With the submission, made on 25 February, Bangladesh becomes the 55th country to lodge a submission with the United Nations for additional areas of continental shelf.
The Commonwealth Secretariat provided legal and technical advice and assistance throughout the development of the submission, which will be examined by the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, based in New York.
The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea is a multilateral treaty that establishes a framework of rules and principles to govern all ocean space. The convention has been ratified by more than 157 countries, including some 47 Commonwealth member countries.
“Making this submission represents a major achievement for this developing country,” said Paul Hibberd, a Legal Adviser at the Commonwealth Secretariat who oversaw the project. “The submission is world-class and stands as a testament to the hard work of a dedicated team of government officials and external advisors who have completed this complex task.”
Joshua Brien, who leads the Maritime Boundary programme at the Secretariat added: “The making of this submission is a matter of critical importance to this rapidly growing nation, particularly as it seeks to secure access to offshore resources to meet its development needs."
The Secretariat provided assistance during the development of the submission in the form of in-house legal expertise and the engagement of scientific and technical experts to provide advice to the government committee established to prepare the submission.
The submission will be formally presented in September 2011, and will then be subject to detailed examination by the UN’s Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf. The Secretariat will continue to provide assistance to Bangladesh during the presentation of the submission.