Norway is assisting several African coastal states in the establishment of the outer limit of their continental shelves beyond 200 nautical miles. Sierra Leone is now joining this cooperation. Cape Verde, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania and Senegal are already taking part. Data collected and analysed by GRID-Arendal, an official United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) collaborating centre, shows that these countries may be entitled to outer limits beyond 200 nautical miles.
Norwegian Minister of the Environment and International Development Erik Solheim commented, “Norway has invaluable insight into what it can mean in economic terms for a country to have jurisdiction over its own sea area. We are happy to share this experience. This is an important contribution to the fight against poverty.”
Norway will now assist these countries in the collection of additional bathymetric and seismic data. This will help to establish the outer limits of the seven African countries’ continental shelves. The agreement will be signed in New York during the opening of the UN General Assembly. Establishing the limits of the continental shelf is crucial for determining who may exploit resources such as oil and gas.
“This is a vulnerable region, affected by war and poverty. Cooperation on establishing the outer limits of the continental shelf can promote greater stability and considerable economic growth,” said Mr Solheim.