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Greenland and Denmark present claims relating to the Continental Shelf to the United Nations in New York

18.08.2016  17:21
On August 17 and 18 2016, an official delegation from Greenland and Denmark presents claims relating to the continental shelf off the coast of Greenland to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (”CLCS”).

The three claims (so-called partial submissions) concern areas beyond 200 nautical miles from the coast of Greenland to the south, north-east and north. The presentation to the CLCS follows the written documentation for claiming the areas made by the Danish Government and Naalakkersuisut (Government of Greenland) in 2014.

Naalakkersuisoq for Industry, Labour, Trade and Foreign Affairs Vittus Qujaukitsoq says:

"It is positive that after a long process of collecting, processing and submitting data for the three areas we now have the opportunity to present the claims to the Commission. Now, we look forward to the constructive management and meetings with the Commission and the negotiations with coastal states with overlapping claims. The entire process of the Continental Shelf Project is an example of the good cooperation within the Kingdom of Denmark and with our Arctic neighbours. "

Minister of Foreign Affairs Kristian Jensen says:

"I am very pleased that Denmark and Greenland can now jointly present our claims of the continental shelf off the coast of Greenland to the Commission. It is one of the milestones in our long and extensive cooperation to document and ensure our claims and thus determine the outer limits of the Kingdom. Additionally, it sends an important signal, that we actively support the international cooperation regarding maritime delimitation on a scientific and legal basis. This is essential in order to continue a peaceful and constructive cooperation in the Arctic."

Background information:
Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, states have entitlement to continental shelf within 200 nautical miles from their coast. However, claims beyond 200 nautical miles shall be supported by special documentation to be considered by the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.

The Kingdom of Denmark has submitted three partial submissions relating to Greenland to the Commission in 2012, 2013 and 2014. On December 15th, 2014 the third partial submission – regarding the area north of Greenland - was submitted covering an area of 895,541 km2. The two previous partial submissions for Greenland were, respectively, the area (about 114,929 km2) south of Greenland from June 2012 and the area (about 61,913 km2) north-east of Greenland from November 2013.


There is an overlap between the partial submission south of Greenland, Iceland´s submission from 2009 and Canada's partial submission from 2013. In addition, the partial submission north-east of Greenland overlaps with Norway's submission from 2006. Finally, the partial submission north of Greenland overlaps with Norway's submission from 2006 and Russia's submission from 2015.

An extensive documentation from a number of other states is awaiting the Commission’s consideration making it difficult to predict the commencement of the considerations regarding the claims from the Kingdom. The process is expected to last several years. Coastal states with overlapping claims subsequently have to negotiate separate delimitation agreements.

Further background material and an Executive Summary of the partial submissions can be found on the Continental Shelf Project website:

For further information contact:
Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Industry, Labour and Trade Jørn Skov Nielsen, telephone +299 34 56 34
Press Advisor, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dorte Mikkelsen, tel. +45 50778698
Chief Consultant Henning Dobson Fugleberg Knudsen, International law and human rights, the Foreign Ministry's Legal Department, tel. +45 41733883