International Seabed Authority
The International Seabed Authority is an international organisation established under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, signed in Montego Bay in 1982 through the 1994 resolution. The Authority is headquartered in Kingston, Jamaïca and is composed of 168 members, representing all States which are party to the Convention.
The Authority is the organisation through which members States organise and control all mineral-related activities in the international seabed area beyond beyond the limits of national jurisdiction, an area underlying most of the world’s oceans.
There are two main bodies that decide on policies and which control the working of the Authority:
- the Assembly, in which all members are represented and which at present meet once a year for a total of two weeks and ;
- the Council which is elected by the Assembly and is composed of 36 members, including France which is a member since the outset.
The exploitation system envisaged in the Law of the Sea Convention, overseen by the Authority, came to life with the signature in 2001 of 15-year contracts for the exploration of specific seabed areas. The French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea (IFREMER) is among the authorised organisations that are able to explore the seabed. Its contract for exploration was renewed for five years in 2016 and was signed by the Secretary-General of the Organisation with the IFREMER’s chief excutive officer in October 2017.
Mr. Michael W Lodge of the United Kingdom was elected Secretary-General on 21 July 2016 at the Authority’s 22nd Session at its headquarters in Kingston for a 4-year term beginning 1 January, 2017. The Ambassador of France to Jamaica is the French Permanent Representative to the Authority.