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ISBA/16/A/2 Report of the Secretary‐General of the International Seabed 

Authority under article 166, paragraph 4, of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 

  

Date: 8 March 2010 

  

I. INTRODUCTION 

  

1. The present report of the Secretary‐General of the International Seabed Authority is submitted to the Assembly of the Authority under article 166, paragraph 4, of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. It provides the usual detailed account of the work of the Authority over the past year as well as an overview of the outcomes of the 2008‐2010 programme of work. The proposed programme of work for 2011‐2013 is set forth in parts XII to XVIII of the report.  

2. The Authority is the organization through which States parties to the Convention, in accordance with Part XI of the Convention, organize and control activities in the Area, particularly with a view to administering the resources of the Area. This is to be done in accordance with the regime for deep seabed mining established in Part XI and other related provisions of the Convention and in the Agreement relating to the Implementation of Part XI of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 (the “1994 Agreement”) adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations under the terms of its resolution 48/263 of 28 July 1994. As provided by resolution 48/263 and the Agreement itself, the provisions of the Agreement and Part XI of the Convention are to be interpreted and applied together as a single instrument. In the event of any inconsistency between the Agreement and Part XI, the provisions of the Agreement prevail.  

3. The Authority has a number of additional specific responsibilities under other provisions of the Convention, such as the responsibility to distribute to States parties to the Convention payments or contributions in kind derived from exploitation of the resources of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles pursuant to article 82, paragraph 4, of the Convention, and the responsibility under articles 145 and 209 of the Convention to establish international rules, regulations and procedures to prevent, reduce and control pollution of the marine environment from activities in the Area, and to protect and conserve the natural resources of the Area and prevent damage to the flora and fauna (that is, the biodiversity) of the marine environment. 

  

II. MEMBERSHIP OF THE AUTHORITY 

  

4. In accordance with article 156, paragraph 2, of the Convention, all States parties to the Convention are ipso facto members of the Authority. By 28 February 2010, there were 160 members of the Authority (159 States and the European Union). On the same date, there were 138 parties to the 1994 Agreement. Since the last report of the Secretary‐General (ISBA/15/A/2), Switzerland (1 May 2009), the Dominican Republic (10 July 2009) and Chad (14 August 2009) have become parties to the Convention and the Agreement.  

5. There are still 22 members of the Authority that became parties to the Convention prior to the adoption of the 1994 Agreement but have not yet become parties to that Agreement, namely: Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahrain, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Dominica, Egypt, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea‐Bissau, Iraq, Mali, Marshall Islands, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sao Tome and Principe, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. Although members of the Authority which are not parties to the 1994 Agreement necessarily participate in the work of the Authority under arrangements based on that Agreement, becoming a party to the Agreement would remove an incongruity that currently exists for those States. For this reason, each year since 1998, at the request of the Assembly, the Secretary‐General has circulated a letter to all members in this position, urging them to consider becoming parties to the 1994 Agreement. In the last such letter, sent on 12 January 2010, attention was drawn to the relevant paragraphs of the report of the Secretary‐ General for 2009 (ISBA/15/A/2) and to operative paragraph 3 of General Assembly resolution 64/71, calling upon

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