SECTION 4. THE AUTHORITY
SUBSECTION A. GENERAL PROVISIONS
Establishment of the Authority
1. There is hereby established the International Seabed Authority, which shall function in accordance with this Part.cralaw
2. All States Parties are ipso facto members of the Authority.cralaw
3. Observers at the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea who have signed the Final Act and who are not referred to in article 305, paragraph 1(c), (d), (e) or (f), shall have the right to participate in the Authority as observers, in accordance with its rules, regulations and procedures.cralaw
4. The seat of the Authority shall be in Jamaica.cralaw
5. The Authority may establish such regional centres or offices as it deems necessary for the exercise of its functions.
Nature and fundamental principles of the Authority
1. The Authority is the organization through which States Parties shall, in accordance with this Part, organize and control activities in the Area, particularly with a view to administering the resources of the Area.cralaw
2. The powers and functions of the Authority shall be those expressly conferred upon it by this Convention. The Authority shall have such incidental powers, consistent with this Convention, as are implicit in and necessary for the exercise of those powers and functions with respect to activities in the Area.cralaw
3. The Authority is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its members.cralaw
4. All members of the Authority shall fulfil in good faith the obligations assumed by them in accordance with this Part in order to ensure to all of them the rights and benefits resulting from membership.
Organs of the Authority
1. There are hereby established, as the principal organs of the Authority, an Assembly, a Council and a Secretariat.cralaw
2. There is hereby established the Enterprise, the organ through which the Authority shall carry out the functions referred to in article 170, paragraph 1.cralaw
3. Such subsidiary organs as may be found necessary may be established in accordance with this Part.cralaw
4. Each principal organ of the Authority and the Enterprise shall be responsible for exercising those powers and functions which are conferred upon it. In exercising such powers and functions each organ shall avoid taking any action which may derogate from or impede the exercise of specific powers and functions conferred upon another organ.
SUBSECTION B. THE ASSEMBLY
Composition, procedure and voting
1. The Assembly shall consist of all the members of the Authority. Each member shall have one representative in the Assembly, who may be accompanied by alternates and advisers.cralaw
2. The Assembly shall meet in regular annual sessions and in such special sessions as may be decided by the Assembly, or convened by the Secretary-General at the request of the Council or of a majority of the members of the Authority.cralaw
3. Sessions shall take place at the seat of the Authority unless otherwise decided by the Assembly.cralaw
4. The Assembly shall adopt its rules of procedure. At the beginning of each regular session, it shall elect its President and such other officers as may be required. They shall hold office until a new President and other officers are elected at the next regular session.cralaw
5. A majority of the members of the Assembly shall constitute a quorum.cralaw
6. Each member of the Assembly shall have one vote.cralaw
7. Decisions on questions of procedure, including decisions to convene special sessions of the Assembly, shall be taken by a majority of the members present and voting.cralaw
8. Decisions on questions of substance shall be taken by a two-thirds majority of the members present and voting, provided that such majority includes a majority of the members participating in the session. When the issue arises as to whether a question is one of substance or not, that question shall be treated as one of substance unless otherwise decided by the Assembly by the majority required for decisions on questions of substance.cralaw
9. When a question of substance comes up for voting for the first time, the President may, and shall, if requested by at least one fifth of the members of the Assembly, defer the issue of taking a vote on that question for a period not exceeding five calendar days. This rule may be applied only once to any question, and shall not be applied so as to defer the question beyond the end of the session.cralaw
10. Upon a written request addressed to the President and sponsored by at least one fourth of the members of the Authority for an advisory opinion on the conformity with this Convention of a proposal before the Assembly on any matter, the Assembly shall request the Seabed Disputes Chamber of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea to give an advisory opinion thereon and shall defer voting on that proposal pending receipt of the advisory opinion by the Chamber. If the advisory opinion is not received before the final week of the session in which it is requested, the Assembly shall decide when it will meet to vote upon the deferred proposal.
Powers and functions
1. The Assembly, as the sole organ of the Authority consisting of all the members, shall be considered the supreme organ of the Authority to which the other principal organs shall be accountable as specifically provided for in this Convention. The Assembly shall have the power to establish general policies in conformity with the relevant provisions of this Convention on any question or matter within the competence of the Authority.cralaw
2. In addition, the powers and functions of the Assembly shall be:chanrobles virtual law library
SUBSECTION C. THE COUNCIL
Composition, procedure and voting
1. The Council shall consist of 36 members of the Authority elected by the Assembly in the following order:chanrobles virtual law library
2. In electing the members of the Council in accordance with paragraph 1, the Assembly shall ensure that:chanrobles virtual law library
3. Elections shall take place at regular sessions of the Assembly. Each member of the Council shall be elected for four years. At the first election, however, the term of one half of the members of each group referred to in paragraph l shall be two years.cralaw
4. Members of the Council shall be eligible for re-election, but due regard should be paid to the desirability of rotation of membership.cralaw
5. The Council shall function at the seat of the Authority, and shall meet as often as the business of the Authority may require, but not less than three times a year.cralaw
6. A majority of the members of the Council shall constitute a quorum.cralaw
7. Each member of the Council shall have one vote.
9. The Council shall establish a procedure whereby a member of the Authority not represented on the Council may send a representative to attend a meeting of the Council when a request is made by such member, or a matter particularly affecting it is under consideration. Such a representative shall be entitled to participate in the deliberations but not to vote.
Powers and functions
1. The Council is the executive organ of the Authority. The Council shall have the power to establish, in conformity with this Convention and the general policies established by the Assembly, the specific policies to be pursued by the Authority on any question or matter within the competence of the Authority.cralaw
2. In addition, the Council shall:chanrobles virtual law library
Organs of the Council
1. There are hereby established the following organs of the Council:chanrobles virtual law library
2. Each Commission shall be composed of 15 members, elected by the Council from among the candidates nominated by the States Parties. However, if necessary, the Council may decide to increase the size of either Commission having due regard to economy and efficiency.cralaw
3. Members of a Commission shall have appropriate qualifications in the area of competence of that Commission. States Parties shall nominate candidates of the highest standards of competence and integrity with qualifications in relevant fields so as to ensure the effective exercise of the functions of the Commissions.cralaw
4. In the election of members of the Commissions, due account shall be taken of the need for equitable geographical distribution and the representation of special interests.cralaw
5. No State Party may nominate more than one candidate for the same Commission. No person shall be elected to serve on more than one Commission.cralaw
6. Members of the Commissions shall hold office for a term of five years. They shall be eligible for re-election for a further term.cralaw
7. In the event of the death, incapacity or resignation of a member of a Commission prior to the expiration of the term of office, the Council shall elect for the remainder of the term, a member from the same geographical region or area of interest.cralaw
8. Members of Commissions shall have no financial interest in any activity relating to exploration and exploitation in the Area. Subject to their responsibilities to the Commissions upon which they serve, they shall not disclose, even after the termination of their functions, any industrial secret, proprietary data which are transferred to the Authority in accordance with Annex III, article l4, or any other confidential information coming to their knowledge by reason of their duties for the Authority.cralaw
9. Each Commission shall exercise its functions in accordance with such guidelines and directives as the Council may adopt.cralaw
10. Each Commission shall formulate and submit to the Council for approval such rules and regulations as may be necessary for the efficient conduct of the Commission's functions.cralaw
11. The decision-making procedures of the Commissions shall be established by the rules, regulations and procedures of the Authority. Recommendations to the Council shall, where necessary, be accompanied by a summary on the divergencies of opinion in the Commission.cralaw
12. Each Commission shall normally function at the seat of the Authority and shall meet as often as is required for the efficient exercise of its functions.cralaw
13. In the exercise of its functions, each Commission may, where appropriate, consult another commission, any competent organ of the United Nations or of its specialized agencies or any international organizations with competence in the subject-matter of such consultation.
The Economic Planning Commission
1. Members of the Economic Planning Commission shall have appropriate qualifications such as those relevant to mining, management of mineral resource activities, international trade or international economics. The Council shall endeavour to ensure that the membership of the Commission reflects all appropriate qualifications. The Commission shall include at least two members from developing States whose exports of the categories of minerals to be derived from the Area have a substantial bearing upon their economies.cralaw
2. The Commission shall:chanrobles virtual law library
The Legal and Technical Commission
1. Members of the Legal and Technical Commission shall 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. The Council shall endeavour to ensure that the membership of the Commission reflects all appropriate qualifications.cralaw
2. The Commission shall:chanrobles virtual law library
3. The members of the Commission shall, upon request by any State Party or other party concerned, be accompanied by a representative of such State or other party concerned when carrying out their function of supervision and inspection.
SUBSECTION D. THE SECRETARIAT
1. The Secretariat of the Authority shall comprise a Secretary-General and such staff as the Authority may require.cralaw
2. The Secretary-General shall be elected for four years by the Assembly from among the candidates proposed by the Council and may be re-elected.cralaw
3. The Secretary-General shall be the chief administrative officer of the Authority, and shall act in that capacity in all meetings of the Assembly, of the Council and of any subsidiary organ, and shall perform such other administrative functions as are entrusted to the Secretary-General by these organs.cralaw
4. The Secretary-General shall make an annual report to the Assembly on the work of the Authority.
The staff of the Authority
1. The staff of the Authority shall consist of such qualified scientific and technical and other personnel as may be required to fulfil the administrative functions of the Authority.cralaw
2. The paramount consideration in the recruitment and employment of the staff and in the determination of their conditions of service shall be the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, competence and integrity. Subject to this consideration, due regard shall be paid to the importance of recruiting the staff on as wide a geographical basis as possible.cralaw
3. The staff shall be appointed by the Secretary-General. The terms and conditions on which they shall be appointed, remunerated and dismissed shall be in accordance with the rules, regulations and procedures of the Authority.
International character of the Secretariat
1. In the performance of their duties the Secretary-General and the staff shall not seek or receive instructions from any government or from any other source external to the Authority. They shall refrain from any action which might reflect on their position as international officials responsible only to the Authority. Each State Party undertakes to respect the exclusively international character of the responsibilities of the Secretary-General and the staff and not to seek to influence them in the discharge of their responsibilities. Any violation of responsibilities by a staff member shall be submitted to the appropriate administrative tribunal as provided in the rules, regulations and procedures of the Authority.cralaw
2. The Secretary-General and the staff shall have no financial interest in any activity relating to exploration and exploitation in the Area. Subject to their responsibilities to the Authority, they shall not disclose, even after the termination of their functions, any industrial secret, proprietary data which are transferred to the Authority in accordance with Annex III, article 14, or any other confidential information coming to their knowledge by reason of their employment with the Authority.cralaw
3. Violations of the obligations of a staff member of the Authority set forth in paragraph 2 shall, on the request of a State Party affected by such violation, or a natural or juridical person, sponsored by a State Party as provided in article 153, paragraph 2(b), and affected by such violation, be submitted by the Authority against the staff member concerned to a tribunal designated by the rules, regulations and procedures of the Authority. The Party affected shall have the right to take part in the proceedings. If the tribunal so recommends, the Secretary-General shall dismiss the staff member concerned.cralaw
4. The rules, regulations and procedures of the Authority shall contain such provisions as are necessary to implement this article.
Consultation and cooperation with international
and non-governmental organizations
1. The Secretary-General shall, on matters within the competence of the Authority, make suitable arrangements, with the approval of the Council, for consultation and cooperation with international and non-governmental organizations recognized by the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.cralaw
2. Any organization with which the Secretary-General has entered into an arrangement under paragraph 1 may designate representatives to attend meetings of the organs of the Authority as observers in accordance with the rules of procedure of these organs. Procedures shall be established for obtaining the views of such organizations in appropriate cases.cralaw
3. The Secretary-General may distribute to States Parties written reports submitted by the non-governmental organizations referred to in paragraph l on subjects in which they have special competence and which are related to the work of the Authority.
SUBSECTION E. THE ENTERPRISE
1. The Enterprise shall be the organ of the Authority which shall carry out activities in the Area directly, pursuant to article 153, paragraph 2(a), as well as the transporting, processing and marketing of minerals recovered from the Area.cralaw
2. The Enterprise shall, within the framework of the international legal personality of the Authority, have such legal capacity as is provided for in the Statute set forth in Annex IV. The Enterprise shall act in accordance with this Convention and the rules, regulations and procedures of the Authority, as well as the general policies established by the Assembly, and shall be subject to the directives and control of the Council.cralaw
3. The Enterprise shall have its principal place of business at the seat of the Authority.cralaw
4. The Enterprise shall, in accordance with article 173, paragraph 2, and Annex IV, article 11, be provided with such funds as it may require to carry out its functions, and shall receive technology as provided in article 144 and other relevant provisions of this Convention.
SUBSECTION F. FINANCIAL ARRANGEMENTS OF THE AUTHORITY
Funds of the Authority
The funds of the Authority shall include:chanrobles virtual law library
Annual budget of the Authority
The Secretary-General shall draft the proposed annual budget of the Authority and submit it to the Council. The Council shall consider the proposed annual budget and submit it to the Assembly, together with any recommendations thereon. The Assembly shall consider and approve the proposed annual budget in accordance with article 160, paragraph 2(h).
Expenses of the Authority
1. The contributions referred to in article 171, subparagraph (a), shall be paid into a special account to meet the administrative expenses of the Authority until the Authority has sufficient funds from other sources to meet those expenses.cralaw
2. The administrative expenses of the Authority shall be a first call upon the funds of the Authority. Except for the assessed contributions referred to in article 171, subparagraph (a), the funds which remain after payment of administrative expenses may, inter alia:chanrobles virtual law library
Borrowing power of the Authority
1. The Authority shall have the power to borrow funds.cralaw
2. The Assembly shall prescribe the limits on the borrowing power of the Authority in the financial regulations adopted pursuant to article 160, paragraph 2(f).cralaw
3. The Council shall exercise the borrowing power of the Authority.cralaw
4. States Parties shall not be liable for the debts of the Authority.
The records, books and accounts of the Authority, including its annual financial statements, shall be audited annually by an independent auditor appointed by the Assembly.
SUBSECTION G. LEGAL STATUS, PRIVILEGES AND IMMUNITIES
The Authority shall have international legal personality and such legal capacity as may be necessary for the exercise of its functions and the fulfilment of its purposes.
Privileges and immunities
To enable the Authority to exercise its functions, it shall enjoy in the territory of each State Party the privileges and immunities set forth in this subsection. The privileges and immunities relating to the Enterprise shall be those set forth in Annex IV, article 13.
Immunity from legal process
The Authority, its property and assets, shall enjoy immunity from legal process except to the extent that the Authority expressly waives this immunity in a particular case.
Immunity from search and any form of seizure
The property and assets of the Authority, wherever located and by whomsoever held, shall be immune from search, requisition, confiscation, expropriation or any other form of seizure by executive or legislative action.
Exemption from restrictions, regulations, controls and moratoria
The property and assets of the Authority shall be exempt from restrictions, regulations, controls and moratoria of any nature.
Archives and official communications of the Authority
1. The archives of the Authority, wherever located, shall be inviolable.cralaw
2. Proprietary data, industrial secrets or similar information and personnel records shall not be placed in archives which are open to public inspection.cralaw
3. With regard to its official communications, the Authority shall be accorded by each State Party treatment no less favourable than that accorded by that State to other international organizations.
Privileges and immunities of certain persons connected with the Authority
Representatives of States Parties attending meetings of the Assembly, the Council or organs of the Assembly or the Council, and the Secretary-General and staff of the Authority, shall enjoy in the territory of each State Party:chanrobles virtual law library
Exemption from taxes and customs duties
1. Within the scope of its official activities, the Authority, its assets and property, its income, and its operations and transactions, authorized by this Convention, shall be exempt from all direct taxation and goods imported or exported for its official use shall be exempt from all customs duties. The Authority shall not claim exemption from taxes which are no more than charges for services rendered.cralaw
2. When purchases of goods or services of substantial value necessary for the official activities of the Authority are made by or on behalf of the Authority, and when the price of such goods or services includes taxes or duties, appropriate measures shall, to the extent practicable, be taken by States Parties to grant exemption from such taxes or duties or provide for their reimbursement. Goods imported or purchased under an exemption provided for in this article shall not be sold or otherwise disposed of in the territory of the State Party which granted the exemption, except under conditions agreed with that State Party.cralaw
3. No tax shall be levied by States Parties on or in respect of salaries and emoluments paid or any other form of payment made by the Authority to the Secretary-General and staff of the Authority, as well as experts performing missions for the Authority, who are not their nationals.
SUBSECTION H. SUSPENSION OF THE EXERCISE OF RIGHTS
AND PRIVILEGES OF MEMBERS
Suspension of the exercise of voting rights
A State Party which is in arrears in the payment of its financial contributions to the Authority shall have no vote if the amount of its arrears equals or exceeds the amount of the contributions due from it for the preceding two full years. The Assembly may, nevertheless, permit such a member to vote if it is satisfied that the failure to pay is due to conditions beyond the control of the member.
Suspension of exercise of rights and privileges of membership
1. A State Party which has grossly and persistently violated the provisions of this Part may be suspended from the exercise of the rights and privileges of membership by the Assembly upon the recommendation of the Council.cralaw
2. No action may be taken under paragraph 1 until the Seabed Disputes Chamber has found that a State Party has grossly and persistently violated the provisions of this Part.
United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea - Part XI. Section 4.