JAMAICA, Kingston (15 July 2015) - - The International Seabed Authority began its twenty-first annual session in Kingston, Jamaica, yesterday, 14 July, with its two major organs – the supreme body, the Assembly, and the decision-making Council – electing their presidents and adopting their indicative work programme for the next ten days.
Ambasssador Helmut Tuerk (Austria) was elected president of the Assembly. (See Biographical Note SB/21/3.) He was nominated by Spain on behalf of the Western European and Others Group.
Chile was nominated Vice President by Argentina on behalf of the Latin American and Caribbean Group, while the Republic of Korea was nominated by Singapore as Vice President for the Asia/Pacific group. However, as the African Group and the Eastern European Group had not yet decided on their candidates, the President postponed this agenda item to allow all four vice presidents to be elected at the same time.
The Assembly also elected two new members to the Finance Committee, Madimi Koteswara Rao (India) and Ye Minn Thein (Myanmar), following the resignations of their compatriots. Their terms will end on 31 December 2016. (ISBA/21/A/3 and ISBA/21/A/5).
Five organizations were granted observer status in the Assembly of the Authority. They are: the World Ocean Council, a non-governmental organization based in Hawaii, United States (ISBA/21/A/INF.1); the Sargasso Sea Commission based in Bermuda (ISBA/21/A/INF.2); the Fish Reef Project based in California, United States (ISBA/21/A/INF.3); the Pacific Community in place of Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission, now subsumed by the Community (ISBA/21/A/INF.4); and the International Dialogue on Underwater Munitions based in The Hague, The Netherlands (ISBA/21/A/INF.5).
The Assembly will begin its substantive work on 21 July with a debate on the annual report of Secretary-General Nii Allotey Odunton (Ghana) which he will present under article 166, paragraph 4, of the United Nations Convention of 10 December 1982. The report reviews a range of activities and programmes of the Authority since its last session and highlights its work programme for the year ahead.
Other issues on the Assembly’s agenda include consideration of a draft Terms of Reference for the conduct of the periodic review of the international regime of the Area under article 154 of the Convention.
The article provides for a five-yearly general and systematic review of the manner in which the international regime of the seabed Area had operated in practice following the entry into force (in 1994) of the Convention. Consequently, the Assembly might take or recommend that other organs of the Authority take measures, in accordance with provisions of the Convention, to improve the operation of the regime.
- ENDS -