Denmark and Greenland to present continental shelf demands

Christian Wenande
August 19th, 2016

This article is more than 7 years old.

It could take years for the UN to process the claims

A delegation from Denmark and Greenland will present a continental shelf claim to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) at the United Nations in New York this week.

The claims concern three partial-submissions relating to areas 200 sea miles to the south, northeast and north of Greenland’s coast – an area that Denmark and Greenland made claims on in 2014.

“This is one of the milestones in our long and considerable co-operation to document and ensure our claim, and thus ascertain the Commonwealth’s outer border,” said the foreign minister, Kristian Jensen.

“Furthermore, it is an important signal to send that we are actively supporting the international co-operation in border-setting on a scientific and judicial foundation. That is essential in order to contribute to a continuing peaceful and constructive Arctic collaboration.”

READ MORE: UN approves Commonwealth continental shelf limits

Overlapping claims
According to the UN’s Convention on the Law of the Sea, a state has access to the continental shelf within 200 sea miles from its coast. Claims outside 200 sea miles must be supported by special documentation that the CLCS must then process.

The Danish Commonwealth’s three partial claims are an 895,541 sq km area outside the 200 sea mile area on Greenland’s northern coast from 2014, a claim to the south of the coast (114,929 sq km) from 2012, and to the northeast (61,913 sq km) from 2013.

The Danish Commonwealth’s claims have overlapped with separate claims made by Canada, Russia, Norway and Iceland, and it is now up to the CLCS to process the claims – something that could take years.

After the CLCS decision, it will be up to the various nations with overlapping claims to negotiate their borders.

There are claim overlaps with Russia, Norway, Canada and Iceland (the netted areas) (photo: Foreign Ministry)

The Danish-Greenlandic claim overlaps with those made by Russia, Norway, Canada and Iceland (photo: Foreign Ministry)


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