INFORMAL NOTE ON MATTERS BEFORE THE FIFTEENTH SESSION OF THE INTERNATIONAL SEABED AUTHORITY
25 May to 5 June 2009, Kingston, Jamaica
This information note has been prepared to facilitate the work of the Authority at its forthcoming session from 25 May to 5 June 2009. As agreed at the fourteenth session, the Legal and Technical Commission will commence its meetings one week prior to the main session of the Authority, from 18 to 22 May 2009. This note, and the official documents referred to herein, will also be available for download.
It is the turn of the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States to nominate a candidate for the Presidency of the Assembly. It is the turn of African Group to nominate a candidate for the Presidency of the Council. It is the turn of the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States to designate the member of the Council that will participate in the deliberations without the right to vote in 2009 in order to achieve equitable geographical representation in the Council.
The note identifies the matters that are to be considered by the Assembly, Council, Legal and Technical Commission and Finance Committee. The proposed schedule of meetings is also attached with this note. It should be noted that, in accordance with the Convention and the Agreement, a number of substantive matters have to be sequentially considered by different organs of the Authority before a final decision on them can be taken. The provisional schedule of meetings for the various organs, which is attached with this note, has therefore been designed with this consideration in mind.
I. FINANCE COMMITTEE
The Finance Committee will consider the audit report for 2008, as well as reports on the status of the voluntary trust fund and the International Seabed Authority Endowment Fund.
II. LEGAL AND TECHNICAL COMMISSION
As agreed at the fourteenth session, the Legal and Technical Commission will commence its meetings one week prior to the main session of the Authority, from 18 to 22 May 2009, in order to enable it to complete its agenda.
The Commission will review and consider the annual reports of contractors submitted pursuant to the regulations for prospecting and exploration for polymetallic nodules in the Area. The Commission will also continue its consideration of two applications for approval of plans of work for exploration for polymetallic nodules in reserved areas made by Nauru Ocean Resources Inc. and Tonga Offshore Mining Ltd., which were submitted to the Authority in 2008.
The Commission will also consider the report and recommendation of an informal working group of its members established to review a proposal to establish a network of ecologically related areas in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone of the Central Pacific Ocean where no exploration or mining activity should take place. The informal working group had been appointed by the Commission during the fourteenth session and requested to work intersessionally with a view to formulating a complete proposal for consideration by the full Commission.
At its last meeting, the Commission had made further progress on the elaboration of draft regulations on prospecting and exploration for cobalt-rich ferromanganese crusts and had also issued an informal revised text of the draft regulation under symbol ISBA/14/LTC/CRP.6. At the conclusion of the fourteenth session, the Commission had requested the secretariat to prepare a revised text of the draft, to be aligned with the adjustments to the text of the draft regulations on prospecting and exploration for polymetallic sulphides agreed by the Council, for consideration by the Commission at the fifteenth session with a view to formal adoption and submission to the Council. The secretariat is in the process of preparing such a text and this will be circulated to the Commission in advance of the fifteenth session.
The Commission had also requested to include in its agenda for the fifteenth session a review of the status of its recommendations for the guidance of contractors under regulation 38 of the Regulations on prospecting and exploration for polymetallic nodules in the Area.
The first item of business for the Council will be the election of a President and vice-Presidents, followed by the adoption of the agenda for the fifteenth session.
The main item of business for the Council will be to continue its detailed consideration of the revised draft regulations on prospecting and exploration for polymetallic sulphides, which it had commenced at the thirteenth session in 2007 and continued throughout the fourteenth session in 2008. By the end of the fourteenth session, the Council had completed a review of those draft regulations that had been left pending at the end of the thirteenth session, as well as a review of informal texts of Annexes 1 and 2 (ISBA/14/C/CRP.3) and Annex 4 (ISBA/14/C/CRP.4), aligned with the informal text of regulations 1 to 44. The Council agreed to continue its work on the outstanding regulations at the fifteenth session and also requested the secretariat to provide additional background material, as appropriate, on the remaining outstanding issues with respect to the draft regulations as well as a revised text of the whole draft regulations, harmonized in all official languages, incorporating the revisions agreed to date. Such a text has been prepared and is available under symbol ISBA/15/C/WP.1.
In accordance with its usual practice, the Council will also be provided with a report on the work of the Legal and Technical Commission during the session and will take up any matters referred to it by the Commission. In particular, the Council will consider the report and recommendations of the Commission on the two applications for approval of plans of work for exploration for polymetallic nodules in reserved areas made by Nauru Ocean Resources Inc. and Tonga Offshore Mining Ltd., which were submitted to the Authority in 2008.
In accordance with the practice that has developed in previous years, the Council will also be provided with an open briefing on current topics of interest to members of the Authority. The details of presenters will be advised in due course.
The first item of business for the Assembly will be the election of a President and Vice-Presidents, followed by the adoption of the agenda for the fifteenth session.
As required by article 166, paragraph 4, of the Convention, the Secretary-General will present his annual report to the Assembly for its consideration. The report will describe the work of the Authority since the fourteenth session. The Assembly will also consider such other proposals and recommendations that may be referred to it by the other organs and subsidiary bodies of the Authority.