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84 

 

II. COMPOSITION OF THE COMMISSION  

  

10. In accordance with article 165 (1) of the Convention, members of the Legal and Technical Commission are required to possess “appropriate qualifications such as those relevant to exploration for and exploitation and processing of mineral resources, oceanology, protection of the marine environment, or economic or legal matters relating to ocean mining and related fields of expertise”. There is no specific requirement in the Convention in relation to regional representation. Instead, the Convention simply provides that due account shall be taken of the need for equitable geographical distribution and the representation of special interests. 5    

11. The Council has taken various steps to ensure that the membership of the Commission reflect an appropriate balance of qualifications and expertise. For example, at the second election of the Commission (2001), the Council requested the Secretariat to provide the Council with an indication of the likely programme of work for the Commission prior to each session, so that members of the Council could make informed judgements on the type of qualifications needed for members of the Commission.  

12. At the twelfth session (2006), the outgoing Commission was asked to share with the Council its experience on the expertise required by the Commission for its effective functioning. In response, the Commission stated that there was a need to preserve as wide a range of disciplinary expertise as possible. It specifically noted the need for specialists in certain key disciplines, including marine biology, mining engineering and mining economics. The Commission further acknowledged that it was unlikely to be able to provide every type of expertise in order to fulfil its wide remit of work. For this reason, the Commission recalled that, when necessary, expertise had been sought outside the membership by the Secretariat to bring additional specialist knowledge and skills to its work. This practice was viewed as an essential process, which should continue.  

13. An information note on matters for consideration by the organs of the Authority has been circulated to all members of the Authority each year since 1997. The information note includes an overview of the workload of the Commission at each session of the Authority. Moreover, in 2004, and again in 2008, the Assembly approved three‐ year work programmes for the Authority, which also contain information on the activities of the Commission and the anticipated workload over the next three‐year period. Furthermore, at each session, the Council is informed of the work that the Commission carries out in a report that the Chairman of the Commission presents to the Council. The information provided indicates the nature of the expertise that the Commission needs in performing its activities.  

14. In practice, it is evident that the members of the Commission have been drawn from a wide variety of disciplines, including law, marine biology, geochemistry, oceanography, geology, geophysics and engineering. It is also true, however, that some disciplines that may be of relevance to the work of the Authority, including mineral economics and commercial mining, have not been well represented on the Commission.   

15. One issue to consider is the desirability of continuity in the membership of the Commission. Although members of the Commission may be re‐elected for a second term, and many members have in fact served two terms of office, there is no provision to ensure continuity of membership as a whole. This may cause difficulties where, for example, an election is held when the Commission is part‐way through dealing with a particular issue on which specialist knowledge is required. Because the entire membership of the Commission changes, there is very little continuity and changes in the balance of expertise on the Commission may then cause a delay in producing recommendations for the Council to consider. The system in many other bodies, including the Council itself, as well as the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, is for one half or one third of the membership to change at each election so that there is continuity of membership.  

   

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5.  See article 163 (4) of the Convention.

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