KINGSTON, JAMAICA, 17 July 2012 – – The International Seabed Authority began its eighteenth session in Kingston with an extensive agenda that includes finalization of a regime for prospecting and exploration for  cobalt-rich crusts in the deep seabed Area, elections to fill vacancies in the Council, and the election of the Secretary-General.

The policy-making Assembly and executive Council adopted their agendas and elected their Presidents and Vice Presidents for the session scheduled to conclude on 27 July. 

Milan J.N. Meetarbhan, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Mauritius to the United Nations, was this morning elected President of the Authority’s 162-member Assembly. The new President was nominated by the representative of Nigeria on behalf of the African Group. 

The Assembly adopted a 19-point agenda which includes: election to fill vacancies on the Council, election of the Secretary-General, adoption of the budget of the Authority for the financial period 2013-2014, and the annual report of the Secretary-General reviewing the organization’s activities since the last session and its future work programme.

Two Vice Presidents were elected: the Czech Republic, representing the Eastern European Group, and Brazil, representing the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States. The other regional groups will nominate their candidates after meetings later today.

The Authority’s 36-member Council, meeting shortly after the Assembly, elected Alfredo Garcia Castelblanco (Chile) as President for the eighteenth session. He has  served as his country’s Ambassador to Jamaica since 2007.
Two Vice Presidents were elected to serve in the Council during the Authority’s eighteenth session. Poland will represent the Western European and Others Group while Egypt was elected as the representative of the African Group.