International Law Commission International Law Commission

Last update: September 2, 2020

Analytical Guide to the Work of the International Law Commission

Sea-level rise in relation to international law

See also: Summary | Texts and Instruments

Mandate

Studies undertaken by the Secretariat and Reports of the Secretary-General

None

Reports of the Working Group or Sub-Committee

None

Reports of the co-Chairs of the Study Group

  • Discussion of the scope and outcome of the topic, the issues to be considered by the Commission, the final outcome to be reached, as well as the methodology to be used by the Study Group. Consideration of the possible legal effects of sea-level rise on the baselines and outer limits of the maritime spaces measured from the baselines, on maritime delimitations, and on the exercise of sovereign rights and jurisdiction of the coastal State and its nationals, as well as on the rights of third States and their nationals in maritime spaces in which boundaries or baselines have been established (as well as the possible legal effects of sea-level rise on islands insofar as their role in the construction of baselines and in maritime delimitations is concerned). Discussion of the possible legal effects of sea-level rise on the status of islands, including rocks, and on the maritime entitlements of a coastal State with fringing islands (as well as the legal status of artificial islands, reclamation or island fortification activities as a response/adaptive measures to sea-level rise).
    • o First issues paper by Bogdan Aurescu and Nilüfer Oral (72nd session of the ILC (2020–21))

Reports of the Drafting Committee

None

Comments by Governments

 

Other

None

Reports of the International Law Commission

  • Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its seventy-first session, 29 April–7 June and 8 July–9 August 2019
    • At its 3467th meeting, on 21 May 2019, the Commission decidedto include the topic in its programme of work. The Commission also decided to establish an open-ended Study Group on the topic, tobe co-chaired, on a rotating basis, by Mr.Bogdan Aurescu, Mr. Yacouba Cissé, Ms. Patrícia Galvão Teles, Ms. Nilüfer Oral and Mr. Juan José Ruda Santolaria.
    • At its 3480th meeting, on 15 July 2019, the Commission took note of the joint oral report of the Co-Chairs of the Study Group.
  • Discussion in Plenary: 3467th (21 May 2019) and 3480th (15 July 2019) meetings
  • ILC Report, A/74/10, 2019, chap. X, paras. 263–273
  • See the website of the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly and the topical summary of debate in the Sixth Committee (forthcoming)

General Assembly Action

  • Resolution 74/186 of 18 December 2019
    • Drew the attention of Governments to the importance for the International Law Commission of having their views by 31 December 2019 on the various aspects of the topics on the agenda of the Commission, in particular on all the specific issues identified in chapter III of its report, regarding sea-level rise in relation to international law.
  • See the website of the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly and the topical summary of debate in the Sixth Committee (A/CN.4/734)

Final Outcome

Work in progress