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105 

further the proposal for the establishment of a network of areas of particular environmental interest in the Clarion‐ Clipperton Fracture Zone would be held later in 2010.  

19. The Commission also took note of the importance of involving its members in the expert meeting on the implementation of article 82, paragraph 4 of the Convention, as proposed in the Report of the Secretary‐General.   

  

B. Proposal to seek an advisory opinion from the Seabed Disputes Chamber 

  

20. The Commission also took note of the proposal before the Council to seek an advisory opinion from the Seabed Disputes Chamber of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea on matters regarding sponsoring State responsibility and liability (ISBA/16/C/6).  

21. The Commission noted that in paragraph 4 of this document, submitted by the delegation of Nauru, it is stated that while the application process was being finalized, “differing opinions arose from members of the Legal and Technical Commission regarding the interpretation of the provisions in the Convention and the 1994 Agreement relating to the implementation of Part XI of the Convention (General Assembly resolution 48/263) that pertain to the responsibility and liability of sponsoring States, and that it became apparent that clarification would need to be sought regarding those provisions before moving forward”.  

22. The Commission wishes to state that these “differing opinions” that are referred to as being of the Commission’s members are not stated in the Commission’s reports or in any other official document. In addition, it is well stated that the applicants were the ones requesting the consideration of their applications to be postponed due to the current global economic circumstances and other concerns.  

23. Effectively, the Commission had received in 2008 two applications for approval of a plan of work for exploration in reserved areas; one from Nauru Ocean Resources Inc. (sponsored by Nauru) and another from Tonga Offshore Mining Limited (sponsored by Tonga). As the Commission had been unable to complete consideration of the applications during the fourteenth session, the matter had been placed on the agenda for the fifteenth session. At that time, the representatives of Nauru and Tonga, the sponsoring States of the applicants, expressed their gratitude to the Commission for its work in relation to the consideration of the applications and emphasized the importance of the applications to their Governments (ISBA/14/C/8).  

24. On 5 May 2009, the Secretariat was informed by Nauru Ocean Resources Inc. and Tonga Offshore Mining Ltd. (the applicant companies) that, in the light of current global economic circumstances and other concerns, they had decided to request that consideration of their applications for approval of plans of work for exploration for polymetallic nodules be postponed (ISBA/15/LTC/6). Consequently, the Commission took due note of the request and decided to defer further consideration of the item until further notice (ISBA/15/LTC/C/5). 

  

C. Size and functioning of the Legal and Technical Commission 

  

25. With respect to the size and functioning of the Legal and Technical Commission, the Commission wished to express that, in the light of the current number of candidates standing for election at the twelfth session, it had been asked by Council to comment on the efficiency of its functioning with its present membership of 25 experts. The Commission agreed that it was able to function efficiently and effectively with 25 experts. The Commission also agreed that there was a need to preserve as wide a range of disciplinary expertise as possible. The Commission specifically noted the need for specialists in certain key disciplines, including marine biology, marine geology, mining engineering, mining economics, and in legal matters.  

26. The Commission recalled that the Convention does not limit the size of the Commission, but on the contrary enables its expansion.  

27. On 28 April 2010, the Commission adjourned its meeting.

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