Minor treaty actions are generally technical amendments to existing treaties which do not impact significantly on the national interest.
Minor treaty actions are presented to the Committee with a one-page explanatory statement and are listed on the Committee’s website. The Committee can choose to formally inquire into these treaty actions, or accept them without a formal inquiry and report. Once considered they are incorporated into a formal report of the Committee at the next opportunity.
The Committee has been asked to consider the following minor treaty actions.
The minor treaty action is the acceptance of an amendment to the Framework Agreement on the establishment of the International Solar Alliance.
The amendment opens the scope of membership of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) to all countries that are members of the United Nations. Membership was originally restricted to countries that lie fully or partially between the Tropics of Capricorn and Cancer and are members of the United Nations. This amendment is expected to have negligible practical, legal and financial effects for Australia.
The minor treaty action is an amendment to Article XII(c)(ii) of the Agreement relating to the International Telecommunications Satellite Organization (ITSO Agreement). The ITSO Agreement was established in 1971 and created an intergovernmental organisation, the main purpose of which was to develop and operate a global commercial telecommunications satellite system. In 2000, the ITSO Agreement was amended and a private company (Intelsat) created to operate the satellite system on a primarily commercial basis. The role of the intergovernmental organisation was recast to monitor Intelsat’s fulfilment of public service obligations relating to global connectivity, coverage and non-discriminatory service provision. In return for fulfilment of public service obligations, Intelsat gained exclusive use of the set of ‘Common Heritage’ frequency assignments.
Article XII (Frequency Assignments) of the ITSO Agreement concerns authorisation for satellite company Intelsat to use certain ‘Common Heritage’ satellite frequency assignments and associated orbital locations that allow global coverage.
The amendment stipulates that, in the event of Intelsat’s waiver of certain frequency assignments, Intelsat’s use of the assignments other than in accordance with the ITSO Agreement, or bankruptcy of Intelsat, the Notifying Administrations may authorise use of the assignments by entities other than Intelsat but only where the entity has signed a public services agreement.
The Committee agreed that binding treaty action should be taken for both of these minor treaty actions.