The International Cospas-Sarsat Programme Agreement (ICSPA), which states the responsibilities of the Parties to the ICSPA, establishes two organs: the Council and the Secretariat.
The Council may establish subsidiary organs as required for the implementation of the Agreement (ICSPA). The Council established the Cospas-Sarsat Joint Committee who meets at least once a year. The Joint Committee comprises two Working Groups:
- the Operations Working Group (OWG)
- the Technical Working Group (TWG)
The Joint Committee addresses all technical and operational matters of interest to the Programme, as directed by the Council. The Joint Committee prepares the System documents (standards and specifications) and recommendations for approval by the Council. The Council, upon recommendation by the Joint Committee, may also decide to establish Task Groups (TG) or Experts’ Working Groups (EWG) to address specific issues and prepare documents for review by to the Joint Committee and submission to the Council for approval.
The reports of Task Groups and Experts’ Working Group meetings are submitted to the Joint Committee for consideration and comment. These reports are also submitted for consideration at the subsequent Open Meeting of the Council.
Languages of the Programme
The International Cospas-Sarsat Programme Agreement (ICSPA) stipulates that the languages of the Council are English, French and Russian. Simultaneous translation to and from the three languages of the Programme is provided at Council meetings.
Meetings of subsidiary organs will normally be held in the English language only, with no interpretation.
Funding of the Programme
The basic principle is that each Participant in the Programme is responsible for all costs associated with its own participation, including the procurement, installation and operation of Ground Segment equipment which they contribute to the System, and the procurement, launch and operation of satellite equipment constituting the Cospas-Sarsat Space Segment. Therefore, there are no exchanges of funds among Participants for implementing the activities pertaining to the Programme. The only exception concerns the international coordination and administration of activities of the Programme, which entails costs shared amongst all Participants.
Common Costs are associated with the organisation, administration and coordination of the Programme, including those costs incurred in financing the activities of the Council and the Secretariat. They do not include any expenses incurred for the reception and transmission of distress alert data or to perform search and rescue operations.
The International Cospas-Sarsat Programme Common Costs are funded exclusively by contributions of the governments of the Parties to the ICSPA and the countries and organisations associated with the Programme (the Participants). All States and organisations that have formally notified their association with the Programme pay an annual standard fee determined by the Council as their contribution towards the Common Costs of the Programme.