SECTION 4. THE AUTHORITY
SUBSECTION A. GENERAL PROVISIONS
1. There is hereby established the International Sea-Bed Authority, which
shall function in accordance with this Part.
Establishment of the Authority
2. All States Parties are ipso facto members of the Authority.
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
4. The seat of the Authority shall be in Jamaica.
5. The Authority may establish such regional centres or offices as it deems
necessary for the exercise of its functions.
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.
Nature and fundamental principles of the Authority
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.
3. The Authority is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all
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.
1. There are hereby established, as the principal organs of the Authority,
an Assembly, a Council and a Secretariat.
Organs of the Authority
2. There is hereby established the Enterprise, the organ through which the
Authority shall carry out the functions referred to in article 170,
3. Such subsidiary organs as may be found necessary may be established in
accordance with this Part.
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
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.
Composition, procedure and voting
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
3. Sessions shall take place at the seat of the Authority unless otherwise
decided by the Assembly.
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.
5. A majority of the members of the Assembly shall constitute a quorum.
6. Each member of the Assembly shall have one vote.
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.
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
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.
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 Sea-Bed 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.
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
2. In addition, the powers and functions of the Assembly shall be:
- to elect the members of the Council in accordance with article 161;
- to elect the Secretary-General from among the candidates proposed by
- to elect, upon the recommendation of the Council, the members of the
Governing Board of the Enterprise and the Director-General of the
- to establish such subsidiary organs as it finds necessary for the
exercise of its functions in accordance with this Part. In the
composition of these subsidiary organs due account shall be taken of
the principle of equitable geographical distribution and of special
interests and the need for members qualified and competent in the
relevant technical questions dealt with by such organs;
- to assess the contributions of members to the administrative budget
of the Authority in accordance with an agreed scale of assessment
based upon the scale used for the regular budget of the United
Nations until the Authority shall have sufficient income from other
sources to meet its administrative expenses;
- to consider and approve, upon the recommendation of the Council
the rules, regulations and procedures on the equitable sharing of
financial and other economic benefits derived from activities in the
Area and the payments and contributions made pursuant to article 82,
taking into particular consideration the interests and needs of
developing States and peoples who have not attained full independence
or other self-governing status. If the Assembly does not approve the
recommendations of the Council, the Assembly shall return them to the
Council for reconsideration in the light of the views expressed by
- to consider and approve the rules, regulations and procedures of
the Authority, and any amendments thereto, provisionally adopted by
the Council pursuant to article 162, paragraph 2 (o)(ii). These
rules, regulations and procedures shall relate to prospecting,
exploration and exploitation in the Area, the financial management
and internal administration of the Authority, and, upon the
recommendation of the Governing Board of the Enterprise, to the
transfer of funds from the Enterprise to the Authority;
- to decide upon the equitable sharing of financial and other economic
benefits derived from activities in the Area, consistent with this
Convention and the rules, regulations and procedures of the
- to consider and approve the proposed annual budget of the Authority
submitted by the Council;
- to examine periodic reports from the Council and from the Enterprise
and special reports requested from the Council or any other organ of
- to initiate studies and make recommendations for the purpose of
promoting international co-operation concerning activities in the
Area and encouraging the progressive development of international law
relating thereto and its codification;
- to consider problems of a general nature in connection with
activities in the Area arising in particular for developing States,
as well as those problems for States in connection with activities in
the Area that are due to their geographical location, particularly
for land-locked and geographically disadvantaged States;
- to establish, upon the recommendation of the Council, on the basis of
advice from the Economic Planning Commission, a system of
compensation or other measures of economic adjustment assistance as
provided in article 151, paragraph 10;
- to suspend the exercise of rights and privileges of membership
pursuant to article 185;
- to discuss any question or matter within the competence of the
Authority and to decide as to which organ of the Authority shall deal
with any such question or matter not specifically entrusted to a
particular organ, consistent with the distribution of powers and
functions among the organs of the Authority.
Convention on the Law of the Sea: Index