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The International Seabed Authority [ISA] is an intergovernmental independent treaty organization established to organize and control all mineral-related activities in the international seabed area beyond the limits of national jurisdiction. The international seabed area underlies most of the world’s oceans. The ISA was established by a multilateral treaty known as the Law of the Sea Convention.
The Assembly and the Council are the two principal organs of ISA. These organs establish the policies and govern the work of ISA. Members are elected by a formula designed to ensure equitable representation of countries from various groups. Members include persons engaged in seabed mineral exploration and the land-based producers of minerals found on the seabed. ISA holds one annual session, usually of two weeks duration.
ISA operates by contracting with private and public corporations and other entities. ISA authorizes the corporations to explore and exploit specified areas on the deep seabed for mineral resources.