The Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf consists of 21 experts in geophysics, hydrography or geology. It was established by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea to review the submissions of coastal states and provide recommendations on the location of the outer limits of their continental shelves. The Commission meets in New York for up to six months per year.
Members of the Commission are elected by states parties to the Convention for five years and can be re-elected. The composition of the Commission is based on geographic representation. Canada is part of the Western Europe and Other Group (WEOG).
On 6 June 2012 Dr. Richard Haworth was elected to the Commission for a five year term (2012-2017). He is the first Canadian member of the Commission and was nominated by Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Dr. Haworth is a highly qualified marine geophysicist whose experience in government, academia and the private sector allows him to bring both practical and scholarly expertise to the Commission. He has more than 40 years of international experience in the collection, analysis and interpretation of marine geoscientific data on continental margins around the world. He has authored more than 100 publications and was a member of the Editorial Board for the book Continental Shelf Limits: The Scientific and Legal Interface, edited by P. J. Cook and C. M. Carleton and published by Oxford University Press in 2000. He has considerable leadership, managerial and international expertise, having served in senior executive positions in the Government of Canada, notably in the Geological Survey of Canada.
Dr. Haworth has a long-standing involvement with the Commission. He worked along-side current and past members of the Commission within the select International Group of Experts convened by the United Nations Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea (DOALOS) to assess the technical implications of applying article 76 of the Convention to define the limits of the continental shelf. Dr. Haworth has since maintained his expertise on continental shelf delineation through participation in international meetings, scholarly activities and training on relevant software applications. Since his retirement from the Government of Canada in 2003 he has worked as an independent consultant specializing in continental shelf delineation and provided advice to coastal states in this regard.