The International Seabed Authority (ISA) Endowment Fund is guided by the common heritage principle that requires activities taking place within the international seabed area to benefit all mankind. Activities and programmes encouraged and promoted through the Fund in fact achieve social, scientific, development and environmental criteria that are intended to benefit the world as a whole.
Socially, the Fund facilitates the transfer of multi-disciplinary skills to scientists and technicians from developing countries by providing opportunities for practical application of knowledge and scientific research techniques that may not be readily available. It also fosters collaboration within the science community; linking scientists from developed and developing countries together to share and build on their skills, knowledge and expertise in marine scientific research fields.
Scientifically, the Fund leverages scarce scientific research funds by encouraging collaboration and partnerships in research projects that can be very costly. It also connects scientists from around the world into a network of deep-sea researchers and scientists; one that encourages collaborative research and the sharing of information and study across the international scientific community. Finally, the Fund expands the knowledge base of the deep-sea environment, which is both vast in size and under-researched.
Developmentally, the Fund encourages information gathering on deep-seabed mineral resources, biodiversity and the effects of human activities in the deep ocean. With this information, ISA can continue to improve its regulations for deep-sea mining. Deep-sea exploration entities may also use this information to better prepare for their future mining activities.
Environmentally, the Fund promotes increased scientific research in the deep-sea where biodiversity, ecosystem and marine resources dynamics are not always well understood. By expanding knowledge in this area, ISA and exploration entities under contract with ISA can continue to ensure that the effects of future mining and prospecting activities do not cause undue harm to the deep-sea environment.