SUVA, 12 JULY 2017 (PACNEWS) — The island nation of Tuvalu has identified what it says is a ‘legal complication’ in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) that relates to the determination of a nation’s baseline especially for countries that are impacted by climate change.


A baseline, according to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, is a boundary line that determines where a State’s maritime sovereignty and jurisdiction begins and ends.

The issue was raised in New York at the recent UN Oceans conference by Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga.

The Tuvaluan leader is seeking a legal clarification on the implications of sea level rise on the determination of territorial sea and exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

“For a country like Tuvalu, this has enormous complications. Our EEZ is a thousand times larger than our land territory. Our nation is based on marine economy.

“Eventually, sea level rise has the potential to inundate some of our islands. This has implications for our claims to our territorial seas and EEZ.

PM Sopoaga told world leaders at the partnership dialogue Tuvalu wants a legal view on the issue of migrating baselines due to sea level rise and its implications for territorial seas and EEZ.

“Needless to say we believe that our baselines, our territorial sea and EEZ, once established should remain in time, irrespective of the effects of sea level due to climate change.

“I would also like to refer this matter to the International Law Commission for a determination, said PM Sopoaga… PACNEWS [/restrict]