New York – August 29, 2014. On August 25, 2014, the Delegations from Federated States of Micronesia, Papua New Guinea, and Solomon Islands began meeting with the 6-man Sub-Commission in the United Nations that examines the Ontong Java Plateau Submission in which the Federated States of Micronesia claims additional continental shelf over what is known as the Ontong Java Plateau south of Kapingamarangi Island. The joint claim made before the United Nations Commission on the Limits of Continental Shelf (UNCLCS) in New York potentially increases the national territory of the submitting countries by more than 500,000 square kilometers, and FSM shall have the ability to extend its continental shelf further out into the high seas. The joint submission is made in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which sets out the internationally-accepted formula for delineating the outer limits of continental shelf beyond the normal EEZ. The continental shelf could hold precious minerals and rare metals that will benefit future generation of FSM citizens.
The FSM Delegation in New York included Ambassador Jane Chigiyal, Permanent Representative of the FSM to the United Nations, Mr. Patrick Mackenzie, NORMA Executive Director, Mr. Jeemer Lippwe, Deputy Permanent Representative of the FSM Mission, Mr. Leonito (Jun) Bacalando, Jr., Assistant Attorney General, FSM Department of Justice, and Mr. Alfred Lebehn, Jr., NORMA IT Manager. It is expected that the examination will continue until the Sub-Commission is satisfied with the soundness of the claim. Mr. Mackenzie expressed confidence that –
The legal presentation has covered all the relevant provisions of the Convention and Scientific and Technical Guidelines that have been interpreted and applied in support of the Joint Submission.
The comprehensive Scientific and Technical presentation has extensively reviewed the geological and geomorphological aspects of the Ontong Java Plateau region. Our presentation also demonstrated that the test of appurtenance has been satisfied in accordance with Article 76 of the Convention.
The Delegation committed to continue to engage with the Sub-Commission in answering questions and providing clarification in regard to the OJP Submission.