The Argentine Submission

The United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) is in charge of examining data and any information submitted by coastal States in relation to the outer limit of their continental shelves. Once such analysis is over, the Commission shall make recommendations related to the conformity of the submitted limit with the formulae and constraints set forth in UNCLOS.

Subsequently, the coastal State shall define the outer limit of its continental shelf, which shall be final and binding if it is in agreement with the CLCS recommendations.

The outer limit of the Argentine continental shelf was submitted to the CLCS on April 21, 2009.

This submission consists of a Main Body, divided into six chapters, which are developed in 13 volumes and contain the scientific grounds for the outer limit of the Argentine continental shelf. Other 13 volumes, and 30 DVDs and 87 GB compile supporting scientific and technical data. Finally, the most relevant bibliography is annexed in other 24 volumes. This extensive submission was made in Spanish and translated into English by our country, for the purposes of facilitating its assessment by the CLCS and avoiding any delays, as English is the Commission’s working language.

On August 26, 2009, a delegation consisting of COPLA members and officers from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs verbally explained to the CLCS the most relevant points of the submission. The oral presentation was made in compliance with the provisions set forth in the Rules of Procedure of the CLCS.

The Executive Summary of the submission can be publicly accessed on the United Nations website:

The CLCS analyses the submissions through seven member Subcommissions that are formed taking into consideration the specific elements contained in each submission.  

The Subcommission that considered the outer limit of the Argentine continental shelf was created in August, 2012, during the 30th Period of Sessions of the CLCS. Therefore, on August 8, 2012, Argentina made a second presentation on the Argentine continental shelf to the same body, given that the Subcommission would begin its analysis.

On that occasion, Argentina also explained to the CLCS the scientific grounds used to demarcate the outer limit of its continental shelf, to allow the Commission to familiarize itself with the scientific data submitted in April 2009.

During the period dedicated to the analysis of the Argentine submission, nine rounds of working sessions were held, namely in August 2012, February/March 2013, July/August 2013, October/November 2013, January/February 2014, August 2014, November 2014, February 2015, and August 2015. In the session that took place in August 2015, the Subcommission completed the analysis of the Argentine submission, starting the stage of consideration by the CLCS Plenary. On August 27, in keeping with the Rules of Procedure of the CLCS, Argentina made its oral presentation to the Plenary.

Finally, on March 11, 2016, the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) adopted by consensus (with no negative votes) the Recommendations on the Argentine submission of the outer limit of its continental shelf.

The two northernmost points of the outer limit of the continental shelf ―referred to as RA-01 and RA-02― remained pending, as no agreement had been reached about the role played by the Salado Transfer in the distortion of the margin in that area.

COPLA worked intensely between March and October 2016, obtaining new data and performing reprocessing tasks which made it possible, without compromising on the scientific grounds contained in the original submission, to use other foot of the slope points so as to determine the two pending outer limit points. With these new data, on October 30, 2016, Argentina made a Partial Revised Submission to the CLCS.

On February 14, 2017 Argentina made the oral presentation of such submission to the CLCS Plenary in its 43rd Session. After this presentation, the CLCS decided to consider the Partial Revised Submission during this session, and on March 14, the final presentation was made to the CLCS plenary.

In that same session, on March 17, 2017, the CLCS adopted the Recommendations with regard to those two points. Once again, Argentina obtained positive Recommendations from the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf in connection with the two points that had remained pending in the northern part of the limit.