Mauritius and Seychelles sign ‘groundbreaking’ treaty for joint management of continental shelf

At a ceremony held on 12 March as part of Mauritius National Day celebrations, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Mauritius, Dr Navinchandra Ramgoolam and the President of the Republic of Seychelles, James Michel, signed an historic Treaty, to provide for the joint management of a vast area of seabed for the benefit of present and future generations.

As a result, Seychelles and Mauritius now have joint jurisdiction over an additional area of 396,000 square kilometers.

I have seen tremendous development and progress since my last visit in 2005. Mauritius is moving fast with dynamism, and together, we can collaborate for the benefit of our people,” said President Michel during the meeting.

President Michel commended the signature of the landmark agreements, and thanked the government of Mauritius for working with Seychelles to achieve the historic partnership.

“It is really remarkable we have managed to achieve this together- it is the first time two countries have signed such an agreement without going through arbitration. It is an extraordinary symbol of our genuine desire to work together as neighbors, as partners, and friends,” said President Michel following the signing.

The signing of the Treaty took place at Clarisse House, the Prime Minister’s residence. It follows the endorsement by the United Nations in April 2011 of a Joint Submission by Mauritius and Seychelles for 400,000 sq km of seabed.

The President said that the Mascarene Plateau region would provide the economic, social, and cultural wellbeing of present and future generations as Seychelles and Mauritius look after he resources of the ocean together.

“We believe that the ocean which surrounds us has immense potential for Small Island Developing States [SIDS], as well as coastal states. We need to harness the power of the blue economy. The ocean unites us and, therefore, it is vital that as two neighborly nations, we are able to access, manage, and conserve resources of the ocean seabed and subsoil together.”

The first treaty proclaims the extended continental shelf outer limits in order to provide for its recognition under the respective national laws and for the extended purposes of international law, which entails depositing the coordinates and charts showing the outer limit boundaries of the Extended Continental Shelf.

The second treaty provides an overarching framework for the establishment of a joint management for the joint administration and management of the Extended Continental Shelf, which is to be proclaimed under the first treaty.