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Brazilian to assume presidency of ISA Assembly today

Tuesday, July 15, 2014    

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THE International Seabed Authority (ISA) is today expected to elect Brazilian ambassador to Jamaica Antonio Francisco Da Costa e Silva Neto as president of its 166-member Assembly.

In that capacity, Neto, who is also Brazil's Permanent Representative to the ISA, will guide the proceedings of the Assembly's 20th session, now underway at the Jamaica Conference Centre in Kingston. He will have no voting rights but may designate a member of his delegation to vote on his behalf.

Neto will take over from Vladimir Mikhailovich Polenov, ambassador of the Russian Federation to Jamaica and to the ISA.

The Assembly is the supreme body of the Authority and includes all its members. According to ISA regulations, the Assembly sets general policies and reviews the work of the Authority, which is carried out by organs such as the Legal and Technical Commission and the Finance Committee.

Also today, the Assembly will elect vice-presidents for the 20th session. Permanent Representative of Argentina to the ISA Ariel Fernandez is expected to fill one of the four spots.

The president and vice-presidents, plus 31 others representing the geographical blocs of Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Western Europe will sit on the Council -- the executive body of the Assembly.

Together, the Assembly and the Council are the governing bodies of the Authority, to which other organs are accountable.

The International Seabed Authority was established by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982) to organise and control activities in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction with a view to administering the resources thereof.

The 20th session runs from July 7 to 25. The first week was dedicated to closed meetings of the Legal and Technical Commission and the Finance Committee. Meetings of the Assembly and the Council occupy the final two weeks.

As part of the events to commemorate its 20th anniversary, next Tuesday's Assembly session will be dedicated to the milestone and will feature several of the organisation's founding fathers, including sitting Secretary General Nii Allotey Odunton and, Singaporean ambassador-at-large to the ISA Professor Tommy Koh. Jamaicans Dr Allan Kirton, Justice Patrick Robinson, and the late Kenneth Rattray, in whose honour the main conference room at the Jamaica Conference Centre is named, are also expected to be acknowledged.

— Kimone Thompson

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