Brisingid sea stars, anemones, and sponge

Highlights and images for 25 July 2023

Kingston, Jamaica

Mark Brown, Prime Minister of the Cook Islands, and Michael Lodge, ISA Secretary-General

Mark Brown (left), Prime Minister of the Cook Islands, offers a vaka and polymetallic nodules to Michael Lodge, ISA Secretary-General, for the ISA museum.

The International Seabed Authority (ISA) Assembly continued its work during the African Day of Seas and Oceans, with consensus on the meeting’s agenda still elusive.

Despite a collegial spirit and willingness to find common ground, President Fanday Turay (Sierra Leone) noted that further consultations are required on the addition of two supplementary items on the agenda on: the establishment of a general policy by the Assembly related to the conservation of the marine environment, including in consideration of the effects of the two-year rule; and terms of reference for the periodic review of the international regime of the Area. Discussions will continue on Wednesday.

Michael Lodge, ISA Secretary-General

Michael Lodge, ISA Secretary-General

The day was devoted to the reports of the ISA Secretary-General Michael Lodge on the annual activities of the Authority and the implementation of the action plan of the ISA in support of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030).

In the morning, Secretary-General Lodge presented the reports, focusing on the implementation of the ISA Strategic Plan 2019-2023 and its nine strategic directions. He highlighted, among other issues:

  • wider engagement with member states, and partnerships with relevant global and regional organizations;
  • promotion of marine scientific research in the Area; and
  • initiatives on capacity building and knowledge generation.
Delegates listen to the report from Michael Lodge, ISA Secretary-General

Delegates listen to the annual report from Michael Lodge, ISA Secretary-General

He underscored the Secretariat staff’s commitment, and emphasized that environmental data generated by exploration contractors are the major source of scientific information on the geological, geomorphological, and environmental characteristics of the deep-sea environment. He concluded noting that “rather than focus on doom and gloom scenarios, we should celebrate that today we know more on the ocean than any other time in human history.”

Delegates commended the Secretary-General for a comprehensive overview of the extensive work done during the past year. They highlighted progress towards the implementation of ISA’s Strategic Plan and High-Level Action Plan for 2019-2023; contributions to the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development; continued efforts to foster and enhance international cooperation and strategic partnerships; and commitment towards achieving the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Alando Terrelonge, State Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jamaica

Alando Terrelonge, State Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Jamaica

Assembly members, among other issues:

  • welcomed Rwanda as the newest ISA member;
  • highlighted the importance of capacity building, technology transfer, and marine scientific research;
  • stressed the general consensus that deep sea mining exploitation activities must not take place in the absence of a robust, strong, and adequate regulatory framework, including a mechanism for fair and equitable benefit sharing;
  • emphasized the need to strike the required balance between exploitation activities and environmental protection;
  • underscored the development of a fair and equitable benefit-sharing mechanism as a critical element of the exploitation regulations;
  • stressed the essential role of a mechanism on inspection, compliance, and enforcement as well as transparency to guarantee the effective implementation of the exploitation regulations;
  • highlighted specific capacity-building efforts, including empowering women in science and leadership in ocean affairs; and
  • reiterated their commitment to working cooperatively and in good faith on the development of the exploitation regulations, bearing in mind the need to protect the marine environment and operationalize the common heritage of humankind principle.
Side Event on 'Periodic review of the Authority under Article 154 of UNCLOS'

Clemens Wackernagel, Germany, addresses participants during the side event on ISA's periodic review.

Two events took place in the evening. A side event, hosted by the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations, the Research Institute for Sustainability – Helmholtz Center Potsdam, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), focused on the periodic review of the Authority.

An event organized by Palau, Costa Rica, Vanuatu, and the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition (DSCC) celebrated our living ocean and enabled exchange of views on the future of deep-sea mining and the protection of the marine environment.

Evening reception

Hervé Berville, Minister of State for Marine Affairs, France, addresses participants during an evening event.

All ENB photos are free to use with attribution. For the 2nd Part of the 28th Annual Session of the ISA, please use: Photo by IISD/ENB | Diego Noguera

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