On 27 February 2023, a Chinese delegation headed by the Vice-Minister of Natural Resources (Administrator of Oceanic Administration) of China, Mr. Hong Wang, visited the headquarters of the International Seabed Authority (ISA) in Kingston, Jamaica, where they met with the Secretary-General H.E. Mr. Michael W. Lodge, and senior members of the staff of the Secretariat to discuss the work of ISA and future areas of cooperation.
The discussions addressed the development of the regulations for the exploitation of mineral resources in the international seabed area (the Area), the design and implementation of regional environmental management plans and measures required for the application of the precautionary approach, the protection of the marine environment and conservation of biodiversity. This is considering the specific role ISA plays under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the 1994 Agreement and its contribution towards the implementation of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework adopted in 2022.
The meeting was also the opportunity to discuss the work of ISA on the six strategic research priorities identified in the Action Plan for Marine Scientific Research in support of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, adopted by the ISA Assembly in December 2020, and future activities of the ISA-China Joint Training and Research Center for the period 2023-2024 to build the capacities of developing States Members of ISA as identified by them.
Opening the meeting, the Honorable Vice-Minister Wang reiterated China’s commitment to fully support and advance the mandate assigned to ISA by UNCLOS and the 1994 Agreement and ensure it can deliver its responsibilities accordingly.
“ISA is entrusted with a critical mandate and plays a fundamental role in the global ocean architecture,” he said. “As a Member of the Council and a State sponsoring exploration activities in the Area, China strongly supports the mission of ISA to protect the marine environment and sustainably develop the mineral resources of the Area for the benefit of all humanity. Therefore, China is fully committed to scaling up its cooperation with ISA, particularly in marine scientific research and capacity development, with a view to sharing scientific and technological knowledge with other developing countries. Furthermore, China looks forward to collaborating with other Council Members to advance work on the draft Mining Code during 2023,” Mr. Wang added.
Secretary-General Lodge expressed his appreciation for the strong support that China has given to the work of ISA over many years and China’s ongoing commitment to advancing scientific research in the deep ocean for the benefit of all humanity. “I also commend the efforts of Chinese contractors to conduct detailed studies of deep-sea mineral resources and to share the results of such studies with ISA. I look forward to furthering our ongoing collaboration with Chinese institutions to contribute towards the capacity-building activities implemented by ISA and the full implementation of the provisions of Part XI of UNCLOS,” Mr. Lodge said.
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