JAMAICA, Kingston (29 January 2016) – – The first periodic review of the manner in which the international regime for the Area has operated in practice has commenced.  The review is being carried out pursuant to article 154 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Article 154 requires the Assembly of the Authority, every five years from the entry into force of the Convention, to undertake a general and systemic review of the manner in which the Authority has operated in practice and to recommend measures which will lead to the improvement of its operation. The Authority is undertaking the review in a systematic manner for the first time after twenty-two years of the Authority’s existence.

During its 21st Session in 2015, the Assembly appointed a Review Committee to oversee the overall conduct of the Review. The Committee is chaired by former Judge of the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea and current President of the Assembly, Ambassador Helmut Tuerk of Austria. At its first meeting in January 2016, the Committee appointed Seascape Consultants Ltd, a UK-based consultancy firm, to assist the Committee to conduct the review by carrying out a background study according to the terms of reference agreed by the Assembly. 

Ambassador Tuerk said that according to its terms of reference, the exercise would involve a review of the level of representation and attendance of members of the Authority at its regular annual sessions; an analysis of the performance of the Assembly as the supreme organ of the Authority; an analysis of the performance of the Council as the executive organ of the Authority; and a review of the structure of the secretariat and of the performance of its functions including its performance of the functions of the Enterprise pursuant to paragraph 5 of section 1 of the annex to the 1994 Agreement. The review would also require a review of the performance, level of representation and attendance of members of the subsidiary organs of the Authority, together with an analysis of the current and projected workload and the identification of measures that may lead to an improvement of their operations.

Professor David Johnson, head of the Seascape Consultants’ team, said that their approach towards the conduct of the review would include the widely used institutional and organisational assessment model that enables assessment of performance based on key drivers namely: external environment, organisational capacity, and organisational motivation. Professor Johnson added that the key inputs to the review would include intensive reviews of the Authority’s official documents, conduct of workshops, analysis of questionnaires by Member States, Contractors and observers and the conduct of structured interviews with key stakeholders, using a regional approach. Team members include Phil Weaver and Vikki Gunn of Seascape, Wylie Spicer QC and Sara Mahaney of McInnes Cooper, a legal firm based in Canada,  Dr. Angel Perez of Universidade do Vale do Itajaí, Brazil, Akuila Tawake, Secretariat of the Pacific Community and Dr Dire Tladi, a member of the International Law Commission and a professor at the University of Pretoria, South Africa.

Further information and links to the questionnaires prepared by Seascape for the conduct of the review will be disseminated by the Secretary-General of the Authority to its members and observers in due course. Other stakeholders will also be invited to provide their input. The due date for submission of questionnaires is 26 February 2016.

An interim report is expected to be considered by the Assembly at its 22nd Session in July 2016 with the final report to be submitted in 2017. 

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