ISA Side Event: 4th International Conference on SIDS | Leveraging partnerships and transformative actions to advance women empowerment and leadership in deep-sea research to support inclusive and sustainable ocean governance

29 May 2024 - 29 May 2024

Antigua and Barbuda



A fundamental responsibility assigned by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to the International Seabed Authority (ISA) is to promote and encourage the conduct of marine scientific research as well as build the capacity of developing States as a means to enable their effective participation in the activities carried out in the international seabed area. In implementing its mandate, ISA is also enacting a vision of a world in which women scientists from developing States, and particularly those from the least developed countries (LDCs), landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) and small island developing States (SIDS), play a central role in deep-sea research and related disciplines with impacts reaching far beyond the sphere of ocean science.

To enable this vision, ISA together with UN-OHRLLS with the participation of more than 20 entities representing member States, international and regional organizations, research institutions, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector are jointly implementing the Women in Deep Sea Research (WIDSR) project to promote empowerment and leadership of women in marine scientific research and particularly in deep-sea research, with a focus on designing and implementing tailored activities and programmes aimed at addressing the specific challenges faced by women scientists from LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS (#OceanAction15467).

Since 2021, dedicated studies and policy recommendations have been issued to support concrete and transformative actions. For instance, in 2022, the WIDSR released the report “Empowering Women from LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS in Deep-Sea Research” which builds on a survey conducted in 23 LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS to collect information at national, institutional and individual levels. The report maps the participation and leadership of women in deep-sea research and related disciplines and identifies the challenges and barriers faced by them to support informed policy development.

This is complemented by tailored capacity-building and development initiatives that have been designed to leverage the maximum of the resources available to build the capacity of women to contribute to their own empowerment and enable their access to leadership positions whilst addressing gender inequality across the whole spectrum of deep-sea related research disciplines and related careers.



This side event will provide a unique opportunity to demonstrate concrete actions towards women empowerment and leadership in marine scientific research through collaborative efforts and transformative partnerships. More specifically, it will present various capacity-building/development initiatives aimed at enhancing the participation and leadership of women from developing States in marine scientific research.

A key element of the event will be a presentation of the S.H.E (See Her Exceed) Mentoring Programme for women qualified in deep-sea research launched in 2023 and counting already 8 remarkable women from developing States as mentees1.

It is expected that this event will create the enabling conditions for participating experts and the audience to discuss the importance of mainstreaming gender equality in highly technical and emerging fields of ocean science and ways to improve effective participation of women from developing States, in particular LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS in the global community of ocean science.

Emphasis will be placed on identifying future actions and partnerships to foster international cooperation and partnerships for innovative solutions with a view to enhance the participation and leadership of women from SIDS and LDCs in deep-sea science and related field of marine scientific research.