Encouraging marine scientific research in the international seabed area has been a key pillar of the International Seabed Authority’s mandate since it was established in 1994. This includes encouraging the participation of scientists from developing countries in research programmes. All exploration contracts issued by the Authority, for example, require prospectors to organize and provide training programmes for personnel from developing countries.
To administer the vast area of the international seabed, the International Seabed Authority must have knowledge of the Area. This is no small undertaking: it requires ongoing commitment by all of the members of the Authority and all of its mining contractors.
Over the past decade, the International Seabed Authority, its members and its contractors have undertaken multiple marine scientific research activities. In addition, contractors have fulfilled their exploration contract requirements with the Authority to offer training programmes and space onboard research vessels to personnel from developing countries.
The terms of reference for the International Seabed Authority Endowment Fund are based on this past experience. In particular, they consider how partnerships amongst scientists in the international community, as well as collaborations amongst the Authority’s contractors, have successful increased scientific knowledge of the deep-sea environment and involved scientists from both developed and developing nations.
The following are three examples of collaborative marine scientific research activities that were undertaken by the International Seabed Authority and its partners to predict and manage the impacts of deep-seabed mining – and increase international knowledge of the deep-seabed environment. The fourth story is a personal profile of a marine biologist from Brazil who benefited from the training programme offered by one of the Authority’s contractors.