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MESSAGE FROM THE FEDERAL MINISTER FOR SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY MR. RANA TANVEER HUSSAIN ON ACCEPTANCE OF THE PAKISTAN CLAIM ATHE UN FOR EXTENSION OF THE LIMITS OF PAKISTAN CONTINENTAL SHELF
21st March 2015

It is indeed a pleasure for me to share with peoples of my country this extremely important, historic and Joyful moment for Pakistan as the Claim for Pakistanís extended continental shelf stands accepted by the UN Commission today. We are thankful to the UN Commission for adoption of the Recommendations in favor of Pakistan. Today is for in fact acknowledging the efforts made by all of the stakeholders in achieving the objectives set-forth towards acceptance of Pakistan claim by the Commission. The Ministry for Science & Technology early in 2004 had undertaken the Pakistan Continental Shelf Programme with invaluable support from Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Pakistan Navy Hydrographic Department. Actually this was an effort made by Pakistan as a follow up of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) that Pakistan had ratified earlier on 26 February 1997. The Convention is in fact a great success of collective wisdom in the history of humans.
The Government of Pakistan has supported the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) for one of the most prestigious Project of Pakistanís Continental Shelf Extension. Pakistan submitted its case for the extension on 30 April 2009, and gave formal presentation to the Commission on 16 August 2013. Consequently the Subcommission for Pakistan Submission was established on 26 August 2013. During the past five Sessions of the Commission held from 2013-15 , Pakistan technical team held 12 meetings with the Subcommission. Exhaustive interactions with Subcommission took place, which included discussions, data processing, preparation of maps & figures and finalization of reports & presentations. In conclusion after a long process, draft recommendations prepared by Subcommission were agreed to by Pakistan delegation and unanimously finalized by the Subcommission and now the Recommendations were unanimously adopted by the members of the Commission.
Extension in the continental shelf of Pakistan would Insha Allah add another 50, 000 sq km in our existing 240,000 sq km maritime area of Pakistan and thus will provide huge seabed resources. Further the data acquired during the project would provide a reliable and firm database and foundation, essential for future marine research and exploration of living and non-living marine resources. The Ministry of Science and Technology has in fact been pursuing national agenda to coordinate and promote research in Oceanography and marine sciences for protections and conservation of marine environment including exploration, exploitation and management of marine resources within maritime zones, and for all matters connected with this field. Pakistan blessed with its coastal of 1050 km along the Arabia Sea and its strategic location provide us a competitive advantage of attracting business and investment opportunities to serve as Regional Hub and potential gateway to the Central Asian Republics (CARs), China, Middle East and South Asia. The surveys conducted during the Pakistan continental shelf programme has provided enough data and information that I am sure would support directly to the petroleum and mineral sector in general and particularly to the offshore maritime industry/market. .On behalf of the Pakistan technical team I may like to acknowledge the Subcommission as well as all its members individually for their thorough analysis and scrutiny of Pakistanís submission and the high level of interest and momentum that was maintained. The interaction of Pakistanís team with the Subcommission was in a highly professional yet cordial atmosphere which helped in finalization of the recommendations agreed to by all the parties. It would contribute directly to the petroleum and mineral sector in general and to the offshore maritime industry/market in particular I congratulate the National Institute of Oceanography and hydrographic department of Pakistan Navy as well as all other stake holders involved in this project for their dedication. The vast potential of untapped ocean resources demands our active role and responsibility in strengthening oceanographic Research & Development in Pakistan, thus boosting the economy of this country. *********

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