Marine Scientific Research

Promoting and encouraging marine scientific research in the Area and coordinating and disseminating the results of such research are at the core of ISA’s mission.

In 2019, ISA launched the DeepData database to serve as the global repository of all deep-seabed-related data submitted by contractors and collected in the Area in their exploration activities. The DeepData contains biological, physical and geochemical parameters of the marine ecosystems from the seafloor to the ocean surface. It also contains maps, photographs, videos, graphics and relevant publications in peer-reviewed journals from contractors.

Remotely operated vehicle lifting onboard a Russian carrier vessel after working in the deep-sea.

The Geographic Information System also makes part of the DeepData’s functionalities and allows visualization of contract areas, reserved areas and designated areas of particular environmental interest.

As the global repository of data and information relating to activities in the Area, DeepData is a critical tool to support ISA in organizing and regulating the activities in the Area, ensuring the effective management of prospecting, exploration and exploitation of deep seabed mineral resources, effectively protecting the marine environment and equitably sharing knowledge derived from the conduct of marine scientific research in the Area for the benefits of humankind.

United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development

In 2017, the United Nations General Assembly declared the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development for 2021-2030 to foster scientific research and technological innovation to support a healthier and more sustainable ocean. This initiative is led by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO). The objectives of the Ocean Decade are at the core of ISA’s mandates to promote and encourage the conduct of marine scientific research in the international seabed area and to facilitate the participation of developing States in deep sea exploration and research programmes.

Recognizing these synergies, ISA is committed to collaborating with IOC-UNESCO to achieve shared objectives, such as improved knowledge sharing on deep-sea biodiversity and enhancing ocean observing networks. Building inclusive, innovative and transformative partnerships, IOC-UNESCO and ISA can jointly meet their strategic objectives and those of the United Nations Decade to universally foster actions to advance ocean science for the benefit of humankind.

ISA Action Plan in support of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science 

ISA has developed a Draft Action Plan on Marine Scientific Research in support of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, together with a consolidated list of priority outputs that will materialize ISA’s contribution to the implementation of the Decade. The Draft Action Plan is built on the strategic directions, high-level actions and associated outputs endorsed by the Members of ISA in the Strategic Plan and the High-Level Action Plan of ISA for 2019-2023. The Draft Action Plan will be presented to the Assembly for consideration at its 26th session in 2020.