JAMAICA, Kingston (9 October 2018) – –  The  International Seabed Authority and the Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization (AALCO) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop and strengthen their cooperation in matters of common interest to bring about better coordination and effective implementation of their respective objectives.

The MoU was signed by Secretary-General Michael Lodge of the Authority and Secretary-General Kennedy Gastorn of AALCO in Tokyo, Japan during the Annual Session of AALCO (8-12 October, 2018).

The MoU provides a framework between AALCO and the Authority to promote cooperation in matters of mutual concern relating to their purposes and functions including the implementation of the legal regime governing activities in the Area, in the interest of their respective member States, in particular those from the Asian and African regions.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Secretary-General Michael Lodge said the fact  that AALCO has an important role to play in the work of the International Seabed Authority is obvious from the long history of engagement of AALCO in matters relating to the law of the sea, going back to the days of the Third Conference on the Law of the Sea. 

He added that 41 out of the 47 members of AALCO are members of the International Seabed Authority, and five member States of AALCO are also sponsoring States for deep seabed exploration activities. 

“I look forward to the implementation of the MoU, which is mainly concerned with raising awareness of the activities of the Authority as well as identifying opportunities for collaboration and cooperation on matters such as training and capacity building for qualified candidates from AALCO member States through initiatives such as fellowships, workshops and seminars”. 

He continued that in this connection, and as an illustration of the sort of activities envisaged,  the Authority plans to hold a workshop for ASEAN and BIMSTEC countries in Myanmar in 2019, as well as a regional workshop in the second half of 2019 for Middle Eastern Countries in the headquarters of ESCWA in Beirut.

AALCO is an intergovernmental, regional organization whose primary purposes, in accordance with its revised statutes, are to serve as an advisory body to its member Governments in the field of international law, provide a forum for cooperation in legal matters of common concern and establish cooperative arrangements with the United Nations, its agencies and other intergovernmental organizations with a view to promoting such cooperation in the field of international law, including wider acceptance of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea among the States in the Asian and African regions.