JAMAICA, Kingston (18 July 2016) – – The Council of the International Seabed Authority in a series of actions, this afternoon agreed to propose two candidates to the Assembly for election as a Secretary-General of the Authority; approved the extension of five year exploration contracts for six entities and concluded discussion on the elaboration of a draft marine minerals exploitation code.
Also this afternoon, the Council began a preliminary debate about the election of candidates to the Legal and Technical Commission (agenda item 17) which is scheduled for tomorrow morning’s meeting.
The two candidates proposed to the Assembly for election as Secretary-General are Nii Allotey Odunton (Ghana), the current Secretary-General, and Michael Lodge, the Legal Counsel and Deputy to the Secretary-General.
The decision on the applications for six contract extensions were delayed in the morning as delegations could not reach consensus on the wording of the draft decision.
Following the preambular paragraphs of the decision, the proposed text for documents ISBA/22/C/L.4 – L.9, states that the Council of the International Seabed Authority:
Noting that, in paragraph 14 of his report to the Council, the Chair of the Legal and Technical Commission had summarized the modifications to the plans of work for exploration proposed by the applicants during the extension period,
Further noting paragraph 16 of the report of the Chairman of the Legal and Technical Commission,
- Decides to approve the application for extension of the contract;
- Requests the Secretary-General to take the necessary steps to execute the extension of the contract, with effect from [the date after the expiry of each contract], by signature of an agreement in the form set out in appendix II to the annex to the decision of the Council of the International Seabed Authority mentioned above.
- Further requests the Secretary-General to report to the Council at its next session on the status of the extension agreement, including details of the modifications to the plans of work for exploration,
- Requests further that the applicants be ready to proceed to exploitation at the end of the five-year extension period.
The President then briefly adjourned the meeting to allow the concerned delegations to work together on a new text of the draft decision. A minor amendment was made so that the final wording of paragraph 4 read as follows:
“ Further invites the applicants to be ready to proceed to exploitation at the end of the five-year extension period.”
The Council then adopted the draft decision to approve the extensions of contracts for exploration of the six contractors.
Candidates for election of Secretary-General
The Council proceeded to agenda item 18, proposal to the Assembly of a list of candidates for the position of Secretary-General. In accordance with Article 166, paragraph 2 of the convention, the Secretary-General of the Authority “shall be elected for four years by the Assembly from among the candidates proposed by the Council….”.
The President of the Council announced the names of the two candidates who had been nominated for the position. He said that the United Kingdom, in a note verbale dated January 20, 2016, had put forward the candidature of Michael Lodge, to serve for the next term from 2017 to 2021. He further informed the Council that the Republic of Ghana had, by note verbale dated November 19, 2015, nominated the current Secretary-General, Nii Allotey Odunton also for the term from 2017 to 2021. The Assembly will conduct the elections on Thursday, 21 July.
The Council decided to propose the two candidates to the Assembly in accordance with article 162, paragraph 2 (b) of the Convention.
Election of LTC members
Twenty-five candidates from among thirty submitted by members of the Authority are slated to be elected by the Council to serve on the Legal and Technical Commission for the next five years beginning from 1 January 2017.
In accordance with article 163 and article 165, paragraph 1, of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the members of the Legal and Technical Commission are elected by the Council from among candidates nominated by the States parties for a term of five years They, however, serve as experts rather than national representatives.
They are required by the Convention to “have 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”. They may serve for up to two consecutive five-year terms.
The Council next meets Tuesday, 19 July, to discuss the elections of members of the Legal and Technical Commission.
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