International Conference on Legal, Scientific and Economic Aspects of Deep Seabed Mining

14 Nov 2019 - 16 Nov 2019

Kingston, Jamaica | 14-16 November 2019



2019 marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the establishment of the International Seabed Authority and the entry into force of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. To commemorate these events, the ISA is preparing a year-long calendar of celebratory events in Jamaica and New York, including an open day to celebrate World Oceans Day on 7 June 2019, a special commemorative session of the Assembly of the Authority on 25 July 2019, and side events at relevant international meetings at United Nations headquarters in New York. The celebrations will culminate in a special conference to be hosted by ISA in Kingston, Jamaica, from 14-16 November 2019. The conference will discuss legal, economic and scientific aspects of the regime for deep seabed mining under the Convention and the evolution of the International Seabed Authority since 1994. The event is co-sponsored by the Center for Oceans Law and Policy at the University of Virginia, School of Law (COLP). COLP has a distinguished track record of convening 43 annual conferences on the law of the sea, with the 2019 edition being convened in Malmo, Sweden, in May 2019.

Objectives and results of the conference

The conference will bring together international scholars and experts from the legal and scientific community, especially distinguished participants from the Third UN Conference on the Law of the Sea, Preparatory Commission for the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea and the International Seabed Authority, and from the history of ISA. Confirmed speakers to date include a high level government representative of Jamaica, His Excellency Patrick Robinson OJ, Judge of the ICJ, His Excellency Albert Hoffman, President of the Seabed Disputes Chamber, and Sir Michael Wood, Member of the International Law Commission. Distinguished scientists who have contributed to the development of the law of the sea have also been invited. It is anticipated that there will be 40-60 participants, including representatives of the diplomatic community in Jamaica, Permanent Missions to the United Nations, as well as international guests. The main objectives of the conference will be to:

  • Raise awareness of the importance of the Authority as one of the institutions created by UNCLOS, its successes and future challenges;
  • Raise awareness amongst Caribbean States and the local diplomatic community of the importance of the Authority (one panel will focus exclusively on the Caribbean and the Law of the Sea);
  • Contribute to scholarly knowledge on the first 25 years of the life of the ISA.


The recommended hotel isAC Marriott Hotelin Kingston, Jamaica where negotiated rates are available to a limited number of rooms on a first come first serve basis


Registration is now closed


Panel 1 -The Evolution of the International Seabed Authority since 1994

PRESENTATION | The role of the Seabed Disputes Chamber in dispute settlement relating to activities in the Area – Judge Albert Hoffmann, President of the Seabed Disputes Chamber, International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea

PRESENTATION | Historical perspective – Sir Michael Wood, Member, International Law Commission

Panel 2 -Future of deep sea mineral resources

PRESENTATION | Polymetallic nodules and cobalt rich ferromanganese crusts – Dr James Hein, Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center

PRESENTATION| Polymetallic Sulphides and potential future minerals – Dr Georgy Cherkashov, Russian Scientific Research Institute for Geology and Mineral Resources of the Ocean

PRESENTATION| Environmental issues – Dr Philomène Verlaan, Visiting Oceanographer, University of Hawaii and Trustee of the Advisory Committee on Protection of the Sea

Panel 3 -Future exploitation of seabed minerals

PRESENTATION| The draft Mining Code – Dr Kathy-Ann Brown, Permanent Representative of Jamaica to the International Seabed Authority

PRESENTATION| The common heritage of mankind principle and the equitable sharing of benefits – Professor Frida Armas Pfirter, Buenos Aires University, Argentina

PRESENTATION| Designing an Efficient Payment System for Deep Sea Mining – Dr Randolph Kirchain, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Panel 4 -Sponsoring States and liability issues

PRESENTATION| Possible Forums for Liability Claims Arising from Deep Seabed Mining: Problems and Prospects – Dr Tara Davenport, Assistant Professor/Senior Research Fellow, Centre for International Law, National University of Singapore

PRESENTATION| Liability funds – Associate Professor Neil Craik, Senior Fellow, Centre for International Governance Innovation

PRESENTATION | Sponsoring State’s National Legislation: possible platform of the application of strict liability for the contractor – Professor Guifang Xue, Director, Center for Polar and Deep Ocean Development

PRESENTATION| Liability of sponsoring state and its implementation in Domestic law of States Parties: focusing on Korean experience and practice – Dr Jee Hyun Choi, Associate Research Fellow, Korean Maritime Institute

Panel 5 -The Caribbean and Part XI of UNCLOS

PRESENTATION | The Deep Seabed: the Debate Continues – Professor Stephen Vasciannie, President, University of Technology, Jamaica

PRESENTATION | The Enterprise and the common heritage of mankind – Mr Eden Charles, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the Enterprise

PRESENTATION| CARICOM’s position on BBNJ – Ms Diedre Mills, Deputy Permanent Representative of Jamaica to the United Nations

Panel 6 -Innovative thinking in Capacity-building

PRESENTATION| Through the looking glass: Capacity-building and a new BBNJ Agreement –Professor Ronán Long, Director, World Maritime University – Sasakawa Global Ocean Institute

PRESENTATION| ISA DeepData: Platform for enhancing capacity and knowledge for deep sea environmental management – Ms Jihyun Lee, Director, Office of Environmental Management and Mineral Resources, International Seabed Authority

PRESENTATION| The role and contribution of ISA in building capacity for developing States – Dr Marie Bourrel-McKinnon, Senior Policy Officer and Special Assistant to the Secretary-General, International Seabed Authority

Panel 7 – The Future

PRESENTATION| Dispute Settlement and the Protection of Investments under Part XI of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea – Professor James Harrison, Edinburgh Law School

PRESENTATION| An ISA side issue: the LOS Convention, Article 82 and revenue sharing – Professor Ted L. McDorman, University of Victoria, Canada

PRESENTATION| The ISA at 25 – H.E. Maria Theresa Infante, Ambassador of Chile to The Netherlands