Innlegg på FNs kontinentalsokkelinitiativ

New York, 25. september 2014

- This is an historic event, which I am personally pleased to witness, sa ekspedisjonsssjef Margit F. Tveiten i forbindelse med at sju vest-afrikanske kyststater overleverte dokumentasjon på sin kontinentalsokkel til FNs havrettskontor i New York.

First of all, let me congratulate Cabo Verde, The Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania, Senegal and Sierra Leone on making this joint submission to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.  This is an historic event, which I am personally pleased to witness. 

The joint submission is the result of a lengthy and successful process. The cooperation was initiated in 2008 at the request of the Commission of the Economic Community of West-African States (ECOWAS) and as a response to a call in United Nations General Assembly Resolution A/RES/63/11. Over the following years, this sub-regional cooperation grew to include several regional agreements, national commissions, regular joint technical workshops, a Liaison Committee of Government officials, as well as joint acquisition of seismic and bathymetric data. The decision to make this joint submission was taken at a Ministerial Meeting in Praia on 10 June 2014. 

Norway has provided technical and financial assistance to this program, and we have thus had the opportunity to follow the progress closely. I am impressed by the efforts, skills and professionalism demonstrated throughout the process by the people involved in the project in each country.

In the words of Secretary-General Ban Ki‑moon, the Convention on the Law of the Sea is “a firm foundation -- a permanent document providing order, stability, predictability and security -- all based on the rule of law.”  I am convinced that this joint submission is a major contribution to the long-term stability and security in West-Africa. The States involved set an important example for other coastal states in implementing their obligations under the Law of the Sea Convention as regards the outer limits of the continental shelf in this spirit of cooperation. 

Norway has been able to utilise its continental shelf resources as the basis for economic growth. I am glad that we through this project have been able to draw on Norwegian experience and expertise for the benefit of our partners in West-Africa. My hope is that this joint submission will have important development implications for future West-African generations. 

[In closing, let me extend my thanks to each and every expert on the West-African and Norwegian side who through their commitment have made this cooperation possible.]