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The Meeting of the States Parties is convened in accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which provides, in article 319, paragraph 2 (e), that the Secretary-General "shall convene necessary meetings of States Parties in accordance with this Convention". Resolutions 49/28 and 52/26 requested that the Secretary-General should continue "preparing for and convening the Meetings of States Parties to the Convention and providing the necessary services for such meetings, in accordance with the Convention".

Among other things, the Meeting elects the members of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (election of one-third of the members takes place every three years) and the members of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (election of all 21 members takes place every five years). It considers, annually, the report of the Tribunal and deals with its budgetary and administrative matters. It receives information provided by the Secretary-General of the International Seabed Authority and the Chairman of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf on the activities of these bodies and also receives the Report of the Secretary-General under article 319 for the information of States parties on issues of a general nature, relevant to States parties, that have arisen with respect to UNCLOS.

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