PH secures UN seat on continental shelf limits

The Philippines has won a seat in the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS), a body of the United Nations that facilitates the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

DFA Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. and Philippine candidate to Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf Efren Carandang (Photo courtesy of the Philippine Mission to the UN)

According to the Philippine Mission to the UN, the Philippines was able to secure the seat in the commission after getting 113 votes from a total of 164 states parties.

"PH competed with eight other candidates under the APG (Asia-Pacific Group), and successfully reached the required majority of votes, with 113 votes from a total of 164 States Parties present and voting, after four tough rounds of voting," the Philippine Mission to the UN confirmed on Thursday, June 16.

The win marks the Philippines' maiden tour of duty as a member of the commission, represented by Philippine candidate Deputy Administrator Efren Carandang.

Carandang, according to Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., is the "Philippines’ foremost authority on the technical intricacies of the law of the sea, which is to say that he is one of the very best in the world.”

Carandang has served National Mapping and Resource Information Authority and its precursor agency for 38 years, leading two technical branches: the Hydrography Branch, and the Mapping and Geodesy Branch.

He has extensive experience in hydrography and its ramifications in international maritime law. He was also part of the Philippine delegation that successfully submitted the relevant charts/coordinates of the outer limits of the Philippines' continental shelf with the International Seabed Authority (ISA).

He was also included in the team that made the Benham Rise, which is now officially called the Philippine Rise, submission in 2009.

"This is the first time that the Philippines, an archipelagic state, will serve in the Commission. (The) PH election promotes the principle of rotation, inclusion, and representation among UNCLOS States," the Philippine Mission to the UN said.

The election was held on June 15 during the 32nd Meeting of the States Parties to UNCLOS.

The Philippines will serve a term in the commission from 2023 to 2028.

The CLCS is tasked to examine and make recommendations on the coastal states’ submissions for extended continental shelves. The outer limits established through this process become the fixed boundaries between the seabed areas within national jurisdictions and the international seabed areas, which are reserved for common heritage.

On the day of election, Locsin vented out his disappointment over the non-backing of Australia in the country's bid in the commission.

On Thursday, he thanked China for voting for the Philippines despite the two countries' dispute in the South China Sea.