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IBRU: Centre for Borders Research

Boundary news

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CLCS Makes Recommendation on Argentine Continental Shelf

(11 April 2016)

IBRU map of South Atlantic claims

The Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf has made a determination on Argentina’s submission regarding its outer continental shelf in the South Atlantic. Although the CLCS has not yet issued its public summary of the recommendation, the text of the Argentine news release, and subsequent celebration by Argentine officials, suggests that the CLCS has largely accepted Argentina’s proposed limits.

Notwithstanding media reporting that implied, or in some cases explicitly stated, that this was a win for Argentina in its ongoing dispute with the United Kingdom over the Falklands/Malvinas Islands, CLCS procedures prohibit the CLCS from considering submissions where another party asserts that there is a sovereignty dispute. In this instance, when Argentina filed its submission in 2009 the United Kingdom asked the CLCS not to investigate the portions of the submission that were dependent Argentine land claims in the Falklands/Malvinas, South Georgia, South Sandwich Islands, or Antarctica. All indications are that the CLCS followed its standard procedures and therefore restricted its determination to portions of the Argentine submission that were based on geological extensions of mainland Argentina.

The CLCS was established under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea to determine the scientific accuracy of States’ outer continental shelf claims. To date, it has issued recommendations on just over one fourth of the eighty-one submissions that it has received.


UN Commission Rules in Favour of Argentina over Falklands, 30 March 2016, CBN Europe,

Argentina Presented Today the Outer Limits of its Continental Shelf, 28 March 2016, Argentine Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship,