Ocean Resources’ Ascendancy over African States Friendship Relations: Can UNCLOS Help Resolve Current or Future Maritime Boundary Delimitation Dispute Issues
Journal of Water Resources and Ocean Science
Volume 5, Issue 1, February 2016, Pages: 1-13
Received: Jan. 6, 2016;
Accepted: Jan. 18, 2016;
Published: Jan. 31, 2016
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Djibril Moudachirou, Institute of International Law, School of Law, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China
Despite African states massive support to the event of UNCLOS, their envy to possess ocean resources is gradually getting entangled in the implementation of UNCLOS provisions regarding the delimitation of maritime boundaries upon which they can enjoy sovereign rights or claim sovereignty. The complacency of these provisions is enraging African states on their attempts to appropriate maritime resources. These states do adopt divergent interpretations which entail conflicts that negotiations fail to resolve. Moreover, considering that inviolability principle, uti possidetis principle and even the principles of delimitation adopted by the Court to resolve maritime delimitation issues often result on biased outcomes, it is imperious to think about a concrete way to favor negotiation on a win-win basis. While this paper briefly highlights African states’ efforts on the realization of UNCLOS, it does find out some attitudes that encourage and complicate friendly neighborhood relations. It therefore suggests stepping forward on cooperating through joint development agreements to explore and exploit maritime resources found on the disputed zones.
Ocean Resources’ Ascendancy over African States Friendship Relations: Can UNCLOS Help Resolve Current or Future Maritime Boundary Delimitation Dispute Issues, Journal of Water Resources and Ocean Science.
Vol. 5, No. 1,
2016, pp. 1-13.
Among these documents, we can cite: “Report of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, Rio de Janeiro, 3-14 June 1992, vol. I, Resolutions Adopted by the Conference (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.93. I. 8 and corrigendum), resolution 1, annex II”; “Report of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, Johannesburg, South Africa, 26August-4 September 2002(United Nations publication, Sales No. E.03. II. A. 1 and corrigendum), chap. I, resolution 2, annex” and “General Assembly resolution 66/288, annex”.
South Africa in 1930; Libya in 1951; Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and Sudan in 1956 and Ghana in 1957. In addition it should be noted that Ethiopia and Liberia were free states and thus have never been colonized.
Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia.
The Convention on the territorial sea and the contiguous zone, Apr.29, 1958, 516 U. N. T. S. 205; The Convention on the high seas, Apr. 29, 1958, 450 U. N. T. S.11; The Convention on the continental shelf, Apr. 29, 1958, 499 U. N. T. S. 311and the Convention on fishing and conservation of the living resources of the high seas, Apr.29, 1958, 599 U. N. T. S. 285.
African delegations made important contributions to the interests of international community. These interests can be seen through Part XI (international seabed area and the institutional framework for deep seabed mining) and Part XV (dispute settlement) whereas those concerning the interests of individual state can be seen through the wordings of Part V (EEZ), Part X (rights of access to the sea and freedom of transit of landlocked states), Part XII (protection and preservation of the marine environment), Part XIII (marine scientific research) and Part XIV (development and transfer of marine technology).
Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia and Tanzania.
Democratic Republic of Congo and Ethiopia.
Benin, Sierra Leone, Congo and Liberia.
Morocco, Ghana, Gambia, Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Togo, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Gabon, Guinea Bissau, Mauritania, Sao Tome and Principe, Somalia and South Africa.
Land and Maritime Boundary between Cameroon and Nigeria (Cameroon v. Nigeria), 2002 I. C. J. p.443, para.295, recalling the North Sea Continental Shelf Cases, n.3, para. 91.
Amongst 86 States that attended to 1958 Geneva Conference 49 were developing countries (20 States from Latin America and 29 States from Africa and Asia).
A. D. Martinez, “The Third United Nations Conference on the law of the Sea: prospects, expectations and realities”, Journal of maritime law and commerce, vol. 7, n° 1, October 1975, p. 261.
The high seas being open to all nations, no State may validly purport to subject any part of them to its sovereignty. Freedom of the high seas is exercised under the conditions laid down by these articles and by the other rules of international law. It comprises, inter alia, both for coastal and non-coastal States: (1) Freedom of navigation; (2) Freedom of fishing; (3) Freedom to lay submarine cables and pipelines; (4) Freedom to fly over the high seas.
North Sea Continental Shelf Cases, para. 85.
Somalia institutes proceedings against Kenya with regard to “a dispute concerning maritime delimitation in the Indian Ocean”, Paragraph 3 available at http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/files/161/18360.pdf accessed on 3/09/2015.
See Case No 23 on Dispute Concerning Delimitation of the Maritime Boundary between GHANA and CÔTE D'IVOIRE in the Atlantic Ocean, Request for the prescription of provisional measures, Special Chamber of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, 25 April 2015, available at https://www.itlos.org/fileadmin/itlos/documents/cases/case_no.23_prov_meas/C23_Order_prov.measures_25.04.2015_orig_Eng.pdf accessed on 25/08/2015.
Common interest zones (CIZs), which can be established when a deposit is located on the maritime borders of two or more states, consist of an ad hoc arrangement for joint administration of the maritime area in question. On this basis, Angola created another CIZ in June 2003 with Congo-Brazzaville, in which both countries agreed to share the revenues from the Lianzi oil field. “Champ pétrolier de Lianzi: plus d’un milliard de dollars pour l’exploitation”, Journal de Brazza, 2 March 2012.
“Zone pétrolière commune”, Africa Energy Intelligence, no. 494, 22 September 2004.
Lambert Mendé Omalanga, minister of hydrocarbon, approved it on 30 July 2007, and the National Assembly ratified it in November. Law 07/004 of 16 November 2007 authorising ratification of the agreement on the development and production of hydrocarbons in the maritime common interest zone signed by the DRC and Angola in Luanda, on 30 July 2007.
Anglo- German Demarcation Agreements of 11 March and 12 April 1913 are negotiated and contracted by the two colonial states (with virtually no knowledge of the peoples and no respect of their traditional boundaries) but nonetheless respected on principle of inviolability of African borders inherited from their former colonial powers, which is mostly referred to the international law principle of utipossidetis by ICJ.
The Maroua Declaration (1 June 1975) is the outcome of the meeting held at Maroua from May 30 to June 1, 1975 between Cameroon and Nigeria on their borders’ delimitation issues. So, unlike to the Anglo-German Demarcation Agreements, the Maroua Declaration is negotiated by the two countries as sovereign states, having regained their political independence from their respective colonial powers in the early 1960s.
‘Annex to the Application Instituting Proceedings of the Government of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau’, Arbitral Award of 31 July 1989 (Guinea-Bissau v Senegal)  ICJ Pleadings 1. 152–3  (MrBarberis).
Continental Shelf (Libya/Malta), Chap. 3, para. 50.
Land and Maritime Boundary between Cameroon and Nigeria (Cameroon v. Nigeria), supra note 10, in Chap. 3, paras. 303–304.
Delimitation of Maritime Areas between Canada and the French Republic (St. Pierre et Miquelon), 10 June 1992, Para. 89.
Maritime Delimitation in the Area between Greenland and Jan Mayen, Paras. 75-76.