JAMAICA, Kingston (18 March 2015) - - African States were encouraged to make all possible efforts to overcome constraints to participate in the sessions of the Authority to ensure the voices of Africa were properly heard and interests properly safeguarded and promoted.
Speaking at the Seminar on Exploration and Exploitation of Deep Seabed Minerals Resources in the Area : Challenges for Africa, the Deputy to the Secretary-General of the International Seabed Authority, Michael Lodge paid tribute to the 1974 Declaration of the Organization of African Unity on Issues of the Law of the Sea in which African States reaffirmed their belief in the principle of the common heritage, including the need to distribute equitably among all developing countries the proceeds from any financial levies imposed on deep seabed mining, to protect the marine environment, and give full meaning to the concept of the common heritage of mankind.
At the same time, Mr Lodge also expressed concern over the lack of participation by African States in recent years especially with the 26 deep sea exploration contracts approved by the Authority, 14 were with contractors sponsored by the Asia-Pacific States, 7 with contractors sponsored by Western European States, 4 with contractors sponsored by Eastern European States and 1 by the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States. No application sponsored by an African State has yet been received.
Mr Lodge said African States participation was particularly acute at this time as the Authority has entered into the crucial task of preparing the rules and regulations for future exploitation of deep sea minerals. The successful completion of the exploitation code could not be done without the effective participation of the African countries.
Also speaking at the Seminar, the Honourable Deputy Minister for Mineral Resources of the Republic of South Africa, Mr. Godfrey Oliphant said South Africa was privileged to play a part in assisting the Authority in its outreach and informing relevant stakeholders of its crucial mandate and important work in strengthening the multilateral processes for the governance of the world’s oceans.
Mr Oliphant said the marine environment was particularly important to Africa and its people. As the second biggest continent, Africa’s coastline is over 26 000 nautical miles with the 38 African countries either coastal or island states.
He said African countries needed to take up their rightful place, not only in the work of the Authority, but also in sharing the potential benefits of mineral exploitation in the international seabed, as well as in relevant marine research projects and results. He continued that It was also important to be fully aware of the opportunities for capacity building and technology transfer provided by contractors as part of their obligations for mineral exploration in the international deep seabed, as well as by the Authority’s Endowment Fund for Marine Scientific Research.
The seminar is being held in Tshwane, South Africa from 17-19 March and is the ninth sensitization seminar to be convened by the International Seabed Authority in different countries around the world, and the second to be held on the continent of Africa.
These seminars are an important means of outreach for the Authority to inform the countries of the region and the various ministries and departments in the host country of the work of the Authority and other related international institutions, the latest developments in deep seabed mining and other topics of relevance.
Visit the Seminar webpage for more information.