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8. The report provided a detailed account of the Authority’s work over the past year as well as an overview of the outcomes of its programme of work for 2008‐2010. It also outlined the main trends of the proposed programme of work for 2011‐2013, covering such matters as supervision of contracts for exploration and award of new ones; progressive development of the regulatory regime for activities in the Area; promotion and encouragement of marine scientific research in the Area; and database development.  

9. The Secretary‐General reported that, by 28 February 2010, membership had grown to 160 after Switzerland, the Dominican Republic and Chad became parties to the Convention and the 1994 Agreement in 2009. There are still 22 members of the Authority that have not yet become parties to the Agreement. Mr. Odunton also announced that, as at 28 February 2010, 20 States and the European Union maintained permanent missions to the Authority.  

10. With regard to the status of contributions to the Authority’s budget, the Secretary‐General stated that contributions outstanding from member States for the period 1998‐2008 totalled $314,731. He said that 43 members were in arrears for a period of two years or more.  

11. As at 1 March 2010, the balance of the Working Capital Fund stood at $438,145, exceeding its approved ceiling of $438,000 by $145. At the same date, the balance of the Voluntary Trust Fund stood at $83,913, including accrued interest of $6,574. A total of $255,979 has been paid out of the Fund, which was established in 2002 to facilitate the participation of members of the Finance Committee and the Legal and Technical Commission from developing countries.  

12. The report noted that the International Seabed Authority Endowment Fund for Marine Scientific Research in the Area, established in 2006, has to date disbursed $254,312 through six awards for activities that promote capacity‐building. A total of 16 scientists from developing countries have received financial support, with the names and nationalities of a further 7 yet to be finalized. One award is currently enabling a researcher from Papua New Guinea to pursue studies at Duke University in the United States of America. The Fund’s Advisory Panel had also recommended an award for the participation of two scientists from India in an investigation of the geology of the Shag Rock Passage on the North Scotia Ridge. During this year, funds will be provided for the participation of two scientists from developing countries in a research programme planned by the China Ocean Mineral Resources Research and Development Association in the Indian Ocean.  

13. The Secretary‐General encouraged members of the Authority, other States, relevant international organizations, academic, scientific and technical institutions, philanthropic organizations, corporations and private persons to contribute to the Endowment Fund.  

14. A number of studies and workshops were also being planned or envisaged. An international workshop will be convened during 2010 to review further a proposal under consideration by the Legal and Technical Commission for the establishment of a network of areas of particular environmental interest in the Clarion‐Clipperton fracture zone of the Central Pacific Ocean. The objective of the workshop will be to obtain the best possible scientific and policy advice on the formulation of an environmental management plan at the regional scale for the area.  

15. A preliminary study by a group of experts is envisaged for the purpose of examining some of the issues associated with the development of an exploitation code, including relevant experience from offshore oil and gas development, as well as comparisons with fiscal regimes for land‐based mining.  

16. The report noted that an expert group meeting would be convened to help prepare draft recommendations to the Council and the Assembly on the implementation by the Authority of article 82, paragraph 4, of the Convention on the Law of the Sea. This covers payments or contributions in kind in respect of exploitation of non‐living resources of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured.

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