The first meeting of the National Focal Points in charge of liaising with the Secretariat of the International Seabed Authority (ISA) on matters relating to capacity development (NAFOP-CD) concluded today.
The meeting was held virtually and involved over thirty National Focal Points identified by Members of ISA to assist the Secretariat with the implementation of its new programmatic approach to capacity development. This new approach, endorsed by the Assembly in December 2020, aims at ensuring that ISA capacity development programmes and initiatives meet the needs identified by its Members, especially geographically disadvantaged States, the least developed countries, the landlocked developing countries and small island developing States.
In particular, the National Focal Points will help raise awareness among national ministries and other relevant agencies on the mandate assigned to ISA by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in relation to capacity-building, capacity development, training and technical assistance. Focal Points will also, at the national level, ensure the dissemination of relevant information and help identify their countries’ needs for technical assistance, as well as potential partners to implement training and capacity development initiatives.
“ISA is determined to develop the necessary mechanisms and tools to address the capacity needs identified by its Members. A lot of work has been done over the last few months, but more is needed. I am really encouraged by the level of participation of Members and by the contributions made by National Focal Points during this first meeting,” said ISA Secretary-General, H.E Mr. Michael W. Lodge during the meeting. “Going forward, as the Secretariat develops a dedicated strategy on capacity development, specific emphasis will be placed on identifying the additional resources that are needed as well as strategic partners at national and regional levels to create a unique network of institutions with which we can deliver against such important strategic objectives and ensure that no one is left behind,” he added.
Training and capacity-building have been an integral feature of ISA’s activities since its establishment in 1994. This responsibility is also recognized in the Strategic Plan and the High-Level Action Plan for the period 2019–2023 under strategic directions 5 (Build capacity for developing States) and 6 (Ensure integrated participation by developing States).
The decision to set up a network of National Focal Points for Capacity Development builds on recommendations made by the participants of the workshop on “Capacity development, resources and needs assessment” that was held in Kingston, Jamaica, from 10 to 12 February 2020 and which involved representatives from Members of ISA, experts from international and regional organizations, observers and contractors.
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