On Thursday, the Assembly of the International Seabed Authority (ISA) held the special commemorative session for its 25th Anniversary. In the morning, delegates and participants attended the presentation of the Secretary-General’s award for excellence in deep sea research, and a high-level panel on capacity building. In the afternoon, plenary heard invited speakers, and regional and national statements, commemorating the Authority’s Anniversary.
Highlights of the day include the:
launch of ISA’s deep seabed and ocean database (DeepData);
deliberations in the high-level panel on capacity building, stressing its importance to achieve the Authority’s mandate and highlighting the contractor training programme, which assists in building the capacities of developing country scientists;
commemorative plenary session, including an intervention by the Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness; and
evening reception, hosted by the Government of Jamaica.
Andrew Michael Holness, Prime Minister of Jamaica, highlighted ISA’s role in promoting scientific and technical knowledge. Baron Waqa, President of Nauru, noted that the Authority’s Strategic Plan prioritizes capacity-building measures for developing countries, particularly small island developing states. Jin-Hyun Paik, President of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) emphasized the role of the Seabed Dispute Chamber. Miguel de Serpa Soares, Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and Legal Counsel of the UN, celebrated the “constitution for the ocean” that contributes to peaceful cooperation and enables the ocean as “a source of prosperity for all people of the world.” Liu Zhenmin, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, and Secretary-General for UN Oceans Conference 2020, highlighted international cooperation driven by the common heritage of humankind principle, which will carry into the next decades of “evolutionary development.”
In his opening address on capacity building, Jens Frølich Holte, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Norway, stressed that ocean minerals will be required to meet the growing needs of the world. Carlos den Hartog, Permanent Representative of Brazil to ISA, stressed that “we live in an era where the main driving force is knowledge.” Rena Lee, Ambassador for Oceans and Law of the Sea Issues and Special Envoy of the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Singapore, highlighted a “practical, hands-on approach, since sometimes the only way to learn is to actually do.” Satyendra Prasad, Permanent Representative of Fiji to the UN, highlighted the need for developing countries to have the capacities to translate science and technology into policies, programmes, and finally concrete outcomes. Sonali Samarasinghe, Minister, Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the UN, called for a multi-stakeholder dialogue; the development of a capacity-building inventory; and the establishment of capacity-building national focal points.
IISD Reporting Services, through its ENB Meeting Coverage, provided daily web coverage and daily reports from the 2nd Part of ISA-25. In addition, IISD Reporting Services, has published a summary and analysis from the meeting, which is now available in HTML and PDF.
Ceremonial Opening by the Jamaica Combined Cadets Force
2019 Edition of the ISA’s Secretary General Award for Excellence in Deep Sea Research
Secretary-General Michael Lodge
Katie Elles, ISA Secretariat
Tidiani Couma, Monaco
Award winner Maurício Shimabukuro, Institute of Oceanography, University of São Paulo; and Secretary-General Michael Lodge
Award winner Maurício Shimabukuro, Institute of Oceanography, University of São Paulo
High-Level Panel: Strengthening Capacity-building Opportunities and Initiatives for Developing States
The dais during the high-level panel
Sonali Samarasinghe, Sri Lanka, and Jens Frølich Holte, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Norway
President Baron Waqa, Nauru
Cliff Hughes, Media Personality, Jamaica
Rena Lee, Singapore
Sonali Samarasinghe, Sri Lanka
Satyendra Prasad, Fiji
Participants watched a video on ISA’s capacity building measures
Andrew Holness, Prime Minister of Jamaica
Jin-Hyun Paik, President of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS)
Liu Zhenmin, Under-Secretary-General for UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA)
Miguel de Serpa Soares, Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and UN Legal Counsel
María Teresa Infante and Francisco Javier Bernales, Chile
Laurie Peters, Canada
Luis Fernando del Solar Dorrego, Argentina
Alexia Pognonec and Denys Wibaux, France
Bernd von Münchow-Pohl and Urs Daniel Engels, Germany
The Assembly during Miguel de Serpa Soares’s address
Launching of ISA’s Database (DeepData)
Secretary-General Michael Lodge
At lunchtime, the Authority launched its deep seabed and ocean database. Secretary-General Lodge underlined that the launch of the database is one of the most important milestones of the Authority’s history. Michelle Walker, Chair of the Legal and Technical Committee, noted that the fulfillment of the ISA’s mandate critically depends on the collection and management of data. Jihyun Lee, ISA Secretariat, highlighted that the main functions of DeepData include raising deep sea literacy, transforming the knowledge flow between the organs of the Authority and contractors, and supporting marine conservation. Maruthadu Sudhakar, India, shared contractor perspectives underlining confidentiality concerns, and reiterating contractors’ commitment to collect and submit data as the Authority moves into seabed exploitation. Sheldon Carter, ISA Secretariat, presented on the type of information submitted to the ISA over the years, and demonstrated how to access the public data in the database.
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