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110th Congress                                              Exec. Rept.
                                 SENATE
 2d Session                                                      110-10

======================================================================



 
  PROTOCOL OF AMENDMENTS TO CONVENTION ON INTERNATIONAL HYDROGRAPHIC 
                              ORGANIZATION

                                _______
                                

                  June 26, 2008.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

          Mr. Biden, from the Committee on Foreign Relations,
                        submitted the following

                                 REPORT

                    [To accompany Treaty Doc. 110-9]

    The Committee on Foreign Relations, to which was referred 
the Protocol of Amendments to the Convention on the 
International Hydrographic Organization, done at Monaco on 
April 14, 2005 (the ``Protocol'') (Treaty Doc. 110-9), having 
considered the same, reports favorably thereon as indicated in 
the resolution of advice and consent, and recommends that the 
Senate give its advice and consent to ratification thereof, as 
set forth in this report and the accompanying resolution of 
advice and consent.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page

  I. Purpose..........................................................1
 II. Background.......................................................2
III. Major Provisions.................................................3
 IV. General and Financial Regulations................................5
  V. Entry Into Force.................................................5
 VI. Denunciation.....................................................5
VII. Committee Action.................................................6
VIII.Committee Recommendation and Comments............................6

 IX. Text of Resolution of Advice and Consent to Ratification.........7
  X. Annex I.--2007 General and Financial Regulations.................9
 XI. Annex II.--New General and Financial Regulations................27
XII. Annex III.--Responses to Questions Submitted by Senator Biden...47

                               I. Purpose


    The purpose of the Protocol is to reorganize the 
International Hydrographic Organization (the ``IHO'') in order 
to make it a more modern, efficient, and effective 
organization. Specifically, the reorganization is intended to 
streamline the IHO's decision-making process, simplify the 
current membership application procedure, allow the 
organization to keep pace with rapidly changing technological 
developments in the field of hydrography, clarify the function 
of the various subsidiary organs that make up the organization, 
and solidify the IHO's role as the leading international 
hydrographic organization in the world.

                             II. Background


    The United States officially joined the forerunner of the 
IHO, the International Hydrographic Bureau, on June 20, 1922, 
pursuant to Congressional authorization contained in the 
Diplomatic and Consular Service Appropriation Act of March 2, 
1921 (22 U.S.C. Sec. 275). The International Hydrographic 
Bureau was established to make navigation easier and safer 
throughout the world, but the Bureau encountered administrative 
problems because it lacked the international legal status of an 
intergovernmental organization. As a result, the Convention on 
the International Hydrographic Organization, done at Monaco on 
May 3, 1967 (the ``1967 Convention''), was concluded in order 
to provide a treaty basis for the International Hydrographic 
Bureau, giving it the international legal status of an 
intergovernmental organization. The 1967 Convention entered 
into force for the United States on September 22, 1970. The IHO 
is headquartered in the Principality of Monaco and over 80 
countries are members of the Organization.

    The 1967 Convention did not change the mission of the 
Organization; the Bureau simply became the executive body of 
the new IHO. As described in President Johnson's Letter of 
Transmittal to the Senate on October 24, 1967, the primary 
objective of the Bureau, and hence the IHO, was to ``make 
navigation easier and safer throughout the world'' and to do so 
by ``coordinat[ing] the activities of national hydrographic 
offices, promoting uniformity in their nautical charts and 
documents and encouraging adoption of reliable and efficient 
hydrographic surveying methods.''

    To this day, the mission of the organization has remained 
the same, but the nature of the day-to-day work of the 
organization has changed dramatically. Technological 
developments not only in the field of hydrography and nautical 
cartography, but throughout the maritime transportation 
industry, including Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation 
and electronic charts, have led to a need for greater accuracy 
in hydrographic surveys and the compilation of digital nautical 
charts and documents, as well as improved coverage to 
facilitate today's maritime traffic. Moreover, increased 
international commerce over the many years since the Bureau was 
originally established has led to the involvement of more 
countries in maritime transportation and a greater need for 
international cooperation. As currently organized and in this 
era of constantly evolving technology, the IHO is having 
difficulty keeping up with this increasing and rapidly shifting 
flow of work. As noted in the Submittal Letter from the 
Secretary of State, ``weaknesses, which include slow decision-
making processes, slow growth in membership, and inadequate 
interaction with other international organizations and 
industry, [are] affecting the IHO's ability to execute its 
mandate effectively.'' The Protocol would amend the 1967 
Convention and reorganize the institution so as to address 
these weaknesses, as described below.

                         III. Major Provisions


    A detailed analysis of the Protocol may be found in the 
Letter of Submittal from the Secretary of State to the 
President, which is reprinted in full in Treaty Document 110-9. 
A summary of the key provisions of the Protocol is set forth 
below.

1. New Organizational Structure

    The new organizational structure set forth in the Protocol 
is intended to make the organization capable of being more 
responsive to Member States' needs and rapidly changing 
technology. In sum, the IHO would meet more frequently, and 
would have new subsidiary organs that are capable of overseeing 
the operation of the organization between meetings of the 
States Parties. The specifics are described below.

    What is currently referred to as the ``International 
Hydrographic Conference'' or ``Conference'' and is composed of 
representatives of every country that is a member of the IHO, 
would be renamed the ``Assembly'' under the amended Convention. 
See Article 4 of the Protocol. The Assembly would meet more 
frequently than the current Conference--every three years, 
instead of every five years. See Article 5 of the Protocol. The 
``International Hydrographic Bureau'' would be renamed the 
``Secretariat,'' but this would not affect the substance of its 
activities within the IHO. See Article 4 of the Protocol. A new 
organ, the ``Council,'' would be established and the Assembly 
would be empowered to establish additional subsidiary organs, 
as needed. See Articles 4 and 5 of the Protocol.

    The establishment of a Council is perhaps the most dramatic 
change. The Council is to be made up of one-fourth, but not 
less than thirty, of the Member States. Two-thirds of the 
Council members are to be selected on a regional basis and the 
remaining one-third is to be selected ``on the basis of 
hydrographic interests, which shall be defined in the General 
Regulations.'' See Article 6 of the Protocol. The current 
International Hydrographic Conference of States Parties has 
adopted General Regulations that will have effect if and when 
the Protocol enters into force. See Annex II. These Regulations 
provide that ``the scale by which an interest in hydrographic 
matters is measured shall be national flag tonnage'' and thus, 
the top 10 Member States on the tonnage listing kept by the IHO 
will have a seat on the Council. The U.S. tonnage, which has 
been reported to the IHO, currently stands at 24,139,848 tons. 
This tonnage places the United States fifth among IHO Member 
States and as a result, the United States is assured a seat on 
the Council, at least for now (The four countries that precede 
the United States in tonnage are as follows: China 
(43,790,000); the United Kingdom (31,189,390); Greece 
(30,881,988); and Singapore (30,451,188)). The Regulations 
provide that this definition will be reconsidered at the second 
Assembly meeting and because the Assembly would meet in 
ordinary session every three years, it appears that this 
definition will remain in place for at least the first few 
years.

2. Clarification of the Objectives of the IHO and the Functions of Its 
        Subsidiary Organs

    Article 2 of the Protocol would amend Article II of the 
1967 Convention by providing greater detail of the objectives 
of the IHO than currently outlined in the Convention. The new 
provision makes it clear that the object of the Organization is 
to facilitate coordination of the activities of national 
hydrographic offices, promote uniformity in nautical charts and 
documents, adopt reliable and efficient methods of carrying out 
hydrographic surveys, and foster the development of sciences in 
the field of hydrography and the techniques employed in 
descriptive oceanography.

    Article 5 of the Protocol sets forth in considerably more 
detail the functions of the Assembly (composed of 
representatives of every country that is a member of the IHO), 
which would include making decisions regarding ``the overall 
policy, strategy, and work programme'' of the Organization; 
approving the three-year budget of the Organization; making 
decisions regarding the operational services of the 
Organization; delegating, where appropriate and necessary, 
responsibilities to the Council; and establishing subsidiary 
organs of the Organization.

    Article 6 of the Protocol describes the structure, 
composition, functions, and working methods of the Council. The 
Council will meet at least once a year and will, among other 
things, coordinate activities of the Organization during the 
period between Assembly sessions; report to the Assembly at 
each ordinary session on the work of the Organization; prepare 
proposals, with the support of the Secretary-General, on the 
overall strategy and work program to be adopted by the 
Assembly; and propose to the Assembly the establishment of 
subsidiary organs.

    Article 7 of the Protocol would amend Article VII of the 
Convention concerning the Finance Committee. Article 7 provides 
that the Finance Committee is open to all Member States and 
clarifies the functions of the Finance Committee, which would 
include reviewing financial statements, budget estimates and 
reports on administrative matters prepared by the Secretary-
General.

    Article 8 of the Protocol amends Article VIII of the 
Convention, which describes the functions of the Bureau, which 
would be renamed the ``Secretariat.'' The new Article VIII 
would clarify the role of this organ, making it clear that it 
is largely administrative.

3. Simplification of the Membership Application Procedure

    Article 17 of the Protocol would amend Article XX of the 
1967 Convention to make it easier for States that are members 
of the United Nations to become a party to the Convention. 
Currently, under Article XX of the Convention, a maritime State 
that wishes to accede to the Convention must have its admission 
approved by two-thirds of the Member States of the 
Organization. The executive branch has informed the committee 
that it can take three or more years to become a member in 
accordance with Article XX. The new amended version of Article 
XX would eliminate this cumbersome process and instead provide 
that any State that is a member of the United Nations may 
accede to the Convention by simply depositing an instrument of 
accession with the Depositary.

4. Decision-Making Procedures

    Article 9 of the Protocol would amend Article IX of the 
1967 Convention by replacing language that previously described 
the composition of the Bureau, which would now be referred to 
as the ``Secretariat,'' with provisions on the decision-making 
process of the Organization. Although these procedures were not 
included in the 1967 Convention, the Secretary of State's 
Letter of Submittal states that this provision would simply 
codify existing practice. In brief, Article 9 provides that 
Member States should try to reach decisions by consensus. When 
it is not possible to reach a consensus, decisions on matters 
related to the policy or finances of the Organization, 
including amendments to the General and Financial Regulations, 
shall be taken by a two-thirds majority of Member States 
present and voting. All other decisions on which it is not 
possible to reach a consensus shall be taken by a simple 
majority of Member States present and voting.

                 IV. General and Financial Regulations


    Annexed to the 1967 Convention are General Regulations and 
Financial Regulations, which govern much of the day-to-day 
functioning of the IHO and implement the broad structure 
provided for in the Convention. These Annexes, in accordance 
with Article XI, do not form an integral part of the Convention 
and they can be amended without the Senate's advice and 
consent. Nevertheless, they are important to the Senate's 
consideration of the Convention and the Protocol, as they 
include details regarding the functioning of the Organization 
that are not included in the underlying treaties. These Annexes 
were transmitted to the Senate for its information in 1967, but 
have undergone a number of changes over the years. The most 
recent version of the Regulations, which include amendments 
that were adopted as recently as 2007, are attached at Annex I. 
In addition, at the XVIIth International Hydrographic 
Conference, which took place in 2007, the parties of the 1967 
Convention adopted draft Regulations that are to take effect 
upon the entry into force of the Protocol. These new 
Regulations are attached at Annex II.

                          V. Entry Into Force


    The Protocol, in accordance with Article XXI (c) of the 
1967 Convention, will enter into force for all Contracting 
States to the 1967 Convention three months after notifications 
of approval by two-thirds of the Member States have been 
received by the Depositary. At the time the Protocol was 
adopted, 80 States were party to the 1967 Convention and as a 
result, the Protocol will enter into force for all Contracting 
States to the 1967 Convention, including the United States, 
three months after notifications of approval by 54 Member 
States have been received by the Depositary. As of June 15, 
2008, 19 States had approved the Protocol.

                            VI. Denunciation


    Article 19 of the Protocol would amend Article XXII of the 
1967 Convention, which provides for denunciation of (or 
withdrawal from) the Convention. A party to the Convention may 
denounce the Convention by giving notice to the Depositary, but 
the denunciation shall not take effect for at least a year, 
that is ``upon 1 January next following the expiration of the 
notice.'' In other words, if a party were to denounce the 
Convention on March 1, 2008 with one year's notice, the 
denunciation of the Convention would take effect on January 1, 
2010.

                         VII. Committee Action


    On April 22, 2008, the committee considered the Protocol, 
and ordered it favorably reported by voice vote, with a quorum 
present and without objection.

              VIII. Committee Recommendation and Comments


    The Committee on Foreign Relations believes that the 
mission of the IHO advances important U.S. national security 
and economic interests and thus, the Protocol, which would 
enable the IHO to develop into a more efficient and effective 
organization, also serves U.S. interests.

    Accurate and comprehensive navigation data is crucial to 
the operation of the U.S. Navy, the Coast Guard, and the U.S. 
Army Corps of Engineers. In addition, the United States has a 
strong economic interest in facilitating and improving the 
safety of maritime transportation throughout the world. 
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, over 29 
percent of all U.S. exports and over 52 percent of all U.S. 
imports were transported by ship in 2006. According to the 
Committee on the Marine Transportation System, established 
pursuant to a directive by the President in the U.S. Ocean 
Action Plan, issued December 17, 2004, the United States ports 
and waterways handle more than 2 billion tons of both domestic 
and foreign commerce each year. The American Association of 
Port Authorities, using figures from 2006, calculates that the 
United States deep-draft seaports and seaport-related 
businesses generated approximately 8.4 million American jobs 
and added nearly two trillion dollars to the U.S. economy.

    The IHO accomplishes its mission of facilitating and 
improving the safety of maritime transportation through the 
sharing of hydrographic information, the development of uniform 
standards for charting and hydrographic surveying, the 
coordination of national hydrographic office activities, and by 
fostering the development of sciences in the field of 
hydrography, including the techniques employed in descriptive 
oceanography. Moreover, the IHO is cost-effective. U.S. 
assessed contributions were $113,000 for calendar year 2005, 
$120,000 for calendar year 2006, and $118,000 for calendar year 
2007. The anticipated assessed U.S. contribution for calendar 
year 2008 is $143,000. The executive branch has informed the 
committee that it does not expect a significant increase in the 
U.S. assessed contribution to the IHO after the Protocol enters 
into force. In part, this is due to an anticipated increase in 
its membership, which would spread the cost of the budget among 
more Member States and should lead to a decrease in the size of 
the U.S. contribution.

    The committee urges the Senate to act promptly to give 
advice and consent to ratification of the Protocol, as set 
forth in this report and the accompanying resolution of advice 
and consent.

      IX. Text of Resolution of Advice and Consent to Ratification


    Resolved (two-thirds of the Senators present concurring 
therein),

    The Senate advises and consents to the ratification of the 
Protocol of Amendments to the Convention on the International 
Hydrographic Organization done at Monaco on April 14, 2005 
(Treaty Doc. 110-9).
          X. Annex I.--2007 General and Financial Regulations























































          XI. Annex II.--New General and Financial Regulations

























































   XII. Annex III.--Responses to Questions Submitted by Senator Biden


    Question. Please provide a list of recent accomplishments 
of the International Hydrographic (IHO) Organization that are 
significant.

    Answer. Recent significant accomplishments of the 
International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) include:


    Development of standards for digital hydrographic data, 
        which provides for expanded use of marine geospatial 
        data, beyond the traditional safety-of-navigation 
        purposes, to better support mapping of critical 
        habitats and natural resources, marine research, 
        protection and monitoring of the marine environment, 
        and sustainable use of the world's oceans, coasts, and 
        fisheries.

    Development of the first internationally accepted standards 
        for Electronic Navigational Charts (ENCs), which will 
        be used in Electronic Chart Display and Information 
        Systems (ECDIS) by all major seagoing vessels as 
        navigation transitions from paper to electronic chart 
        navigation over the next few years. The IHO standards 
        provide international interoperability for electronic 
        chart data and improve the safety and efficiency of 
        maritime navigation. Safety is improved through 
        continuous display of ship location in relation to 
        standard IHO symbols. Efficiency of marine navigation 
        is being improved through IHO work with its Member 
        States and commercial system providers to expand the 
        system capability in support of the mariner.

    Establishment of a Capacity Building Committee to develop 
        and implement plans and foster regional cooperative 
        efforts to assist developing coastal States in 
        acquiring the ability to collect digital hydrographic 
        data and produce electronic charts.

    Evaluation of the current status of worldwide electronic 
        chart coverage, and the actions necessary to improve 
        the scope of such coverage


    Question. Please provide a list of current and future 
priorities of the International Hydrographic Organization that 
are worthy of note.

    Answer. The current and future priorities of the 
International Hydrographic Organization include:


    Expansion of the Navigation Warning system into the Arctic 
        region for improved maritime safety in response to 
        increased shipping within this region.

    Development of the next generation of electronic chart 
        standards to include 3D data, and integration of ice, 
        tides, currents, and meteorology data into the 
        electronic chart display.

    Assisting Member States with their production of Electronic 
        Navigational Charts, which are essential for the future 
        deployment of Electronic Chart Display and Information 
        Systems. Such assistance might include training and 
        guidance regarding international hydrographic and 
        charting standards and identifying voluntary resources 
        to support developing country hydrographic offices in 
        acquiring and expanding their production capabilities.

    Collaboration with other organizations in the development 
        of policies and standards for nautical products that 
        facilitate the safe passage of all vessels, including 
        military ones, through domestic and international 
        waters.

    Expanding IHO membership, thereby increasing collection of 
        hydrographic data and production of nautical charts to 
        support safety of navigation and protection of the 
        marine environment.

    The IHO recently accepted a proposal from the United States 
        to develop a standard international format for 
        displaying non-mandatory, supplemental marine 
        environmental data with Electronic Navigational Charts 
        in electronic navigation systems. This is a 
        collaborative effort among IHO Member States, 
        environmental organizations and agencies, military, and 
        private industry.


    Question. What was the U.S. assessed contribution to the 
International Hydrographic Organization for calendar years 
2005, 2006, and 2007? What is the assessed contribution to the 
International Hydrographic Organization for calendar year 2008? 
Do you expect a significant increase in the U.S. assessed 
contribution to the International Hydrographic Organization in 
future years, if the Protocol enters into force?

    Answer. The U.S. assessed contributions to the 
International Hydrographic Organization for calendar years 
2005, 2006 and 2007 were as follows: $113,000 for calendar year 
2005; $120,000 for calendar year 2006; and $118,000 for 
calendar year 2007.
    The anticipated assessed U.S. contribution for calendar 
year 2008 is $143,000, which may increase as a result of the 
weakening dollar. IHO budgets are based on the Euro.
    The United States does not expect a significant increase in 
the U.S. assessed contribution to the IHO when the Protocol 
enters into force. Entry into force of the Protocol will 
facilitate the reorganization of the IHO, which will result in 
a more efficient and responsive organization and attendant 
cost-savings. In addition, the amendments will simplify the 
process for increasing IHO membership, and an increased 
membership should obviate the need to increase assessed 
contributions to current members, including the United States. 
Under the current Convention, it could take 3 or more years to 
gain the necessary 2/3 approval for admission as a new Member 
State, whereas amendments to the Convention will authorize any 
State that is a member of the United Nations to become a member 
by simply depositing its instrument of accession to the 
Convention with the Depositary.


    Question. Please provide to the Committee a copy of the 
current Financial Regulations of the International Hydrographic 
Organization and the current General Regulations of the 
International Hydrographic Organization. When were these 
regulations adopted by the International Hydrographic 
Organization?

    Answer. Copies of the current Financial Regulations and 
General Regulations of the International Hydrographic 
Organization are attached at Tab A [Annex I of this Report]. 
The current Financial Regulations incorporate amendments that 
were adopted in 2003. The current General Regulations 
incorporate amendments to Article 6 of the regulations, which 
were adopted in 2007 at the XVIIth International Hydrographic 
Conference.
    The XVIIth Conference also adopted amendments to the 
Financial Regulations and additional amendments to the General 
Regulations, whose implementation is subject to the entry into 
force of the Protocol. These amendments will serve the same 
purpose as the Protocol, which is to facilitate implementation 
of IHO's reorganization. Copies of the Financial Regulations 
and General Regulations that will take effect upon entry into 
force of the Protocol are attached at Tab B [Annex II of this 
Report].


    Question. How many people are currently employed by the 
International Hydrographic Organization?

    Answer. The International Hydrographic Bureau, which serves 
as the secretariat of the IHO, employs 19 individuals. It is 
led by a Directing Committee that is comprised of a President 
and two Directors, who are nominated by the IHO Member States 
and elected by the Conference for 5-year terms. The remaining 
16 staff includes 5 professional technical assistants for 
cartography, publications, digital standards, hydrography and 
administration, and 11 staff for translation, finance, digital 
cartography/graphics and administration/communications. Since 
1997, the IHO has reduced its staff by 2 despite a steadily 
increasing IHO membership.


    Question. Will the United States have a seat on the newly 
established Council, if the Protocol enters into force?

    Answer. The United States will have a seat on the newly 
established Council upon the Protocol's entry into force. Under 
the current principles governing the composition of the Council 
as set out in the Protocol of Amendments and the General 
Regulations, seats are allocated on the bases of regional 
representation and hydrographic interest. The existing 
``hydrographic interest'' basis for membership on the new 
Council is tonnage of shipping (all civil tonnage over 100 tons 
plus 6/7ths of all military tonnage). The U.S. tonnage reported 
to IHO currently stands at 24,139,848 tons which places the 
United States in 5th position among IHO Member States. The top 
10 Member States on the tonnage listing will have a seat on 
Council. The ``hydrographic interest'' criterion may change in 
the future but all the suggested alternatives, e.g., number of 
charts, area of national waters, etc., would still result in 
the United States having a seat on Council.