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T&T woman elected to Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf

Sunday, June 18, 2017
Dr. Wanda-Lee De Landro Clarke, who was elected as a member of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (‘the Commission’, ‘CLCS’) on Wednesday.

A senior petroleum geophysicist at the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries has been elected as a member of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement yesterday.

Dr Wanda-Lee De Landro Clarke became the first woman to be elected to sit on the 21-member Commission on June 14, 2017.

Dr De Landro Clarke obtained 160 votes out of a possible 164 votes of states parties present and voting, from all regions of the world.

In order to be elected, a candidate had to obtain at least two-thirds majority of the ballots cast.

The elections took place at United Nations Headquarters in New York, within the framework of the 27th Meeting of States Parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

The CLCS was established pursuant to Article I of Annex II of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea to facilitate the implementation of the Convention with regard to the establishment of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured.

The Convention on the Continental Shelf replaced the earlier practice of nations having sovereignty over only a very narrow strip of the sea surrounding them, with anything beyond that strip considered International Waters, according to a Wikipedia article on the subject.

This policy was used until President of the United States Harry S Truman proclaimed that the resources on the continental shelf contiguous to the United States belonged to the United States through an Executive Order on 28 September 1945. Many other nations quickly adapted similar policies, most stating that their portion of the sea extended either 12 or 200 nautical miles from its coast.

The successful election of Dr De Landro Clarke is consistent with the continuation of T&T’s leading role on matters pertaining to the law of the sea. Dr De Landro Clarke will be succeeding T&T national, Mr Francis Charles, who has served on the Commission since 2007.

Dr De Landro Clarke’s election to the CLCS also satisfies the Government of Trinidad and Tobago’s adherence to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 5, to ‘achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls’.

The meeting also elected 20 other members from Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean and Western Europe.

T&T ratified the Convention on the Continental Shelf in 1968.


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