The negotiations resulting in the Agreement were conducted over six sessions totaling fourteen weeks. In addition, several intersessional meetings were held in Buenos Aires, Geneva, Tokyo, Washington, DC, and New York. Informal consultations continued at other levels. The Agreement consists of forty pages of text contained in document A/CONF.164/33, and represents a refinement of the issues discussed at the first substantive session. Unlike in other multilateral negotiations, no text was bracketed. The Chair resolved to reach consensus agreement on each article without resorting to brackets or voting. This format follows the procedures adopted during the UNCLOS negotiations.
To facilitate greater understanding of the Agreement, the following is a summary of each article in the agreed text. The Final Act, which stands alone, is also reviewed. Some editorial and stylistic changes that will not affect the substance are likely to be made prior to the Agreement's opening for signature in December. Minor amendments to the Final Act are also possible.