Magazine article UN Chronicle

Sea Law Commission Focuses on Pioneer Investor Duties, Training Programme Approved

Magazine article UN Chronicle

Sea Law Commission Focuses on Pioneer Investor Duties, Training Programme Approved

Article excerpt

The training programme will be carried out in close co-operation between the registered pioneer investors and certifying States on the one hand, and the Preparatory Commission, on the other. Training will cover all levels and aspects of sea-bed mining activities, helping the Enterprise recruit highly qualified personnel. A 15-member expert panel will be established, representing appropriate fields, to elaborate a training schedule, select trainees from a register, evaluate performance reports, and establish procedures for the programme's administration.

The implementation of obligations and responsibilities of registered pioneer investors" was another major area considered. The topic had been under discussion since registration of France, India, Japan and the Soviet Union as pioneer investors in 1987.

In recognition of investments already made in sea-bed mining research, development and exploration, the Third UN Conference on the Law of the Sea decided, by resolution II, to establish a special regime to govern "pioneer activities" by States or entities which would be registered as "pioneer investors" by the Preparatory Commission.

To qualify as a pioneer investor, a State or an enterprise must have spent at least $30 million on sea-bed activities as of 1 January 1983. Developing countries-other than India, which is an identified pioneer investor-now have until the entry into force of the Convention to fulfil this condition.

Registered pioneer investors have an exclusive right to explore designated areas of the international sea-bed (in the north-east Pacific in the case of France, japan and the Soviet Union, and in the Indian Ocean in the case of India), as well as priority treatment when it comes to authorizing actual sea-bed mining.

Registration also carries with it certain responsibilities and obligations, including a proposed $1 million annual fee, transfer of technology, and training personnel for the Enterprise.

Commission Chairman Jose Luis Jesus of Cape Verde reported a compromise on a mandate for a group of technical experts meeting during the session of the Commission. They had prepared a sea-bed exploration plan and a report on the training of personnel. He said consultations on implementation of obligations with various interest groups to identify possible areas of compromise, would resume in 1990.

During its three-week session, the Commission continued work on rules of procedure for the Sea-Bed Authority and its various organs, including a finance committee to assist the Authority in budgetary and other financial matters. Practical arrangements for the functioning of the Tribunal, the so-called mining code, operational requirements of the Enterprise, and measures to assist developing land-based producer States in adjusting their economies to the possible effects of sea-bed mining were also discussed.

Established in 1982, the Commission is to make all arrangements for the proper functioning of the Authority and the Tribunal, which will come into existence following entry into force of the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. As of 1 September 1989, the Convention had received 42 of 60 ratifications or accessions required for its entry into force.

Chairman jesus reiterated his suggestion that the Commission complete its work by the summer of 1991, before entry into force of the Convention. …

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