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Unclos Iii: Informal Composite Negotiating Text

Volume 387: debated on Wednesday 16 November 1977

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asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they agree with the proposal in the Informal Composite Negotiating Text of UNCLOS III that States should have the right to construct artificial islands and other installations in the High Seas; what purposes such islands and installations might serve, particularly if constructed in the waters superjacent to another State's continental shelf beyond 200 n.m. and how such a proposal can accord with the concept of the High Sea.

The British Government are in agreement with the proposal in the Informal Composite Negotiating Text. Such constructions will be for the purposes indicated in the text. The coastal State enjoys an exclusive right to construct, authorise and regulate such constructions on its continental shelf, whether within or beyond 200 miles. These proposals reflect developing international practice and aspirations.

The text provides that the coastal State should have due regard to the rights of other States. The British Government fully support this approach and have sought throughout the negotiations in the United Nations Law of the Sea Conference to ensure that a balance is maintained between the need to preserve the traditional freedom of the High Seas and the rights of coastal States to exploit their marine resources.