ISA announces new MSR Information Webinar Series for Africa with first edition to be hosted on 16 September

MSR AFRICA info series #1
ANNOUNCEMENT

Building on the activities of the Africa’s Deep Seabed Resources (ADSR) project and the identification of specific capacity-building and development needs by African country members of the International Seabed Authority (ISA), the ISA Secretariat is convening a series of webinars on marine scientific research (MSR) focusing on a wide range of topics, such as mineral resources assessments, environmental management and data management. Representatives of ISA member States in Africa and their experts and practitioners in the relevant fields will be actively engaged.

The first webinar in the series will focus on Deep-sea Mineral Resources and Technologies and will take place on 16 September 2021.

The main objective of this webinar will be to present complementarity between exploration of deep-seabed mineral resources and marine scientific research undertaken in the Area, conceived as the foundation of sustainable development of deep-seabed mineral resources. In particular, it will focus on sharing the work of ISA on promoting MSR, including the scientific contribution of contractors through their exploration activities, and discuss how ISA’s institutional knowledge and experience can inform efforts of ISA member States towards achieving sustainable ocean development. Specifically, the webinar will cover the following topics:

  1. Global distribution and occurrence of deep-seabed minerals in the Area
  2. Deep-seabed exploration activities undertaken by ISA contractors for three types of mineral resources – polymetallic nodules, polymetallic sulphides, cobalt-rich ferromanganese crusts
  3. Technological needs and potential solutions for sustainable exploitation and processing of mineral resources
  4. Africa’s contribution to global minerals supply
  5. Africa’s strategic approaches for enhancing MSR knowledge-base for sustainable ocean development in line with the African Union Blue Economy Strategy and the Decade of African Seas and Oceans (2015-2025)

Please visit this page for more information and to register.

Background

In accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), all States have the right to conduct marine scientific research (MSR) in the Area. Pursuant to Article 143 of UNCLOS, States Parties shall promote international cooperation in MSR in the Area by participating in international programmes and encouraging cooperation in MSR by personnel of different countries and of ISA.The same Article also mandates ISA to promote and encourage the conduct of MSR in the Area and to coordinate and disseminate the results of such research and analysis when available. 

ISA may also carry out marine scientific research concerning the Area and its resources. In addition, ISA has the duty to encourage appropriate programmes to be designed and implemented for the benefit of developing States and technologically-less-developed States, with a view to: (a) strengthening their research capabilities; (b) training their personnel in the techniques and applications of research; and (c) fostering the employment of their qualified personnel in research in the Area. ISA’s commitment to successful achievement of these mandates and responsibilities is well reflected in the ISA Strategic Plan for period 2019-2023 and its High-Level Action Plan, adopted by the Assembly in 2018 and 2019 respectively, as well as the ISA Action Plan in support of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development adopted by the Assembly in 2020.

Advancing MSR in the Area and Africa’s capacity to conduct such research has been acknowledged as a direct contribution to developing Africa’s blue economy. The African Union, through its Agenda 2063: The Africa we want and the Africa Blue Economy Strategy (2019) have identified exploitation and beneficiation of deep-sea mineral resources as a key driver in the development of a sustainable and inclusive blue economy for Africa.

In the Agenda 2063: The Africa we want, expansion of African knowledge society through transformation and investments in science, innovation and technology has been recognized as a key strategy for inclusive growth and sustainable development. Furthermore, the Africa Blue Economy Strategy (2019) identified education and research as key pillars of the development of Africa’s blue economy, recognizing the gap of expertise and growing demand for knowledge, particularly related to the exploitation of deep-seabed mineral resources.

At the 2017 Ocean Conference, ISA, in partnership with the African Minerals Development Centre of the African Union, registered a Voluntary Commitment to foster international and regional cooperation in support of Africa’s blue economy. This led to the creation of the Africa’s Deep Seabed Resources (ADSR) project, which is being implemented by ISA, in collaboration with the African Union and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD). The goal of the ADSR project is to provide the enabling conditions for African countries to fully benefit from the blue economy through sustainable development of their deep-seabed resources.