Last week, members of Chambers Penelope Nevill and Monica Feria-Tinta attended the London International Boundary Delimitation Conference.
Whilst Penelope Nevill gave a paper on Ethics and International Boundaries, Monica Feria-Tinta participated in workshops addressing Maritime Boundary Delimitation, and Mineral resource beyond oil and gas and their significance for coastal states’ maritime boundaries, working alongside State delegations of Korea, Indonesia, and Timor-Leste. Principles such as maritime zones, equidistance lines, equitable boundaries, special circumstances, and proportionality, were thoroughly applied in such context.
The Conference, attended by over 150 delegates including diplomats and governmental officials, opened with a keynote by Prof. Tullio Treves, a former judge of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.
Over three days, issues such as Island sovereignty and maritime jurisdiction, Jurisdictional challenges in boundary and sovereignty disputes among others, were explored. Topics such as the recent arbitration case between Philippines v China, under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), currently pending before the Permanent Court of Arbitration, were discussed. On October 29, 2015, the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled that it has jurisdiction over the case.
Maritime Boundary Delimitation or “measuring the sea” (and its interface with jurisdiction over natural resources in the sea), is at the cutting edge of Public International Law featuring as a recurrent topic in the jurisprudence of the International Court of Justice and arbitral proceedings. The search for natural resources has turned the eyes to the sea, making the demarcation of sovereign maritime territory of importance for States. In recent years many of such disputes relating to maritime boundary delimitation has concerned Latin American States including Peru, Chile, Nicaragua, Colombia and Honduras, as well as countries in Asia such as Bangladesh, India, and Myanmar.